King Abdullah tells Abbas to reconsider UN statehood bid

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Jordan’s King Abdullah II advised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to reconsider the Palestinian UN statehood bid in September, the Saudi Arabian newspaper Al-Madina reported yesterday. King Abdullah, after consulting with a team of international lawyers, explained to Abbas that declaring a Palestinian state would possibly result in the loss of the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees, according to the report. He therefore asked Abbas to reconsider his plan to bring statehood to a vote at the United Nations in September.

Last week Guy Goodwin-Gill, a professor of international law at Oxford whose legal opinion was commissioned by former PLO representative Karma Nabulsi, also indicated that Palestinian refugees who live in the diaspora could be “accidentally disenfranchised” by the UN bid.

Other Palestinian officials, headed by PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, according to earlier reports, are alleged to be against the move, believing that trying to secure UN recognition may cause more detriment than benefit for the Palestinian cause.

Nevertheless, Abbas remains adamant about pushing forward with the initiative. On Sunday PA President Abbas said that the Palestinians would continue to demand the right of return for millions of refugees to their original homes inside Israel even after the UN recognises a Palestinian state along the 4 June 1967 lines. Responding to legal experts’ claims that a Palestinian state could affect the status of the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinians, Abbas told the Jordanian newspaper Ad-Dustour: “The PLO represents all the Palestinians, not only those in the Palestinian territories and whose number is estimated at 4 million. The PLO represents all 8 million Palestinians in the world.”