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Palestinians considering softer UN bid

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According to a report in Ynetnews, the Palestinian Authority is willing to amend the proposed resolution ahead of the General Assembly meeting in September, in an effort to gain wider support among European nations. Europe’s major powers have yet to decide whether to support the Palestinians’ membership bid, to which the US is opposed.

According to the proposed version, anticipating a US veto in the Security Council, Palestinian officials will likely apply for an upgrade in their UN status from an “observer mission” to that of a “non-member state” and will not make an official declaration of independence. Also, the revised proposal will leave room for the resumption of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Publicly, however, Palestinian officials are continuing to express their intention to seek recognition in the UN.

On Tuesday Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed plans to apply for full UN membership at September’s meeting of the United Nation’s General Assembly. “The application will be submitted to the [UN] Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,” Abbas told a news conference in Sarajevo, ending a three-day visit to Bosnia during which he asked for support for the UN bid. “There is no date. Any time during the UN session we can submit the application,” he added.

Palestinian sources quoted in Ynetnews stated that an official decision to change the form of the proposal has not yet been made but noted that intense efforts are being held with the European Union and the Arab League. A Palestinian official said that the PA fears that major European powers will not endorse the UN bid and has therefore decided to try to revise the proposal. He indicated that a final decision would be made after EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton visits Ramallah and meets with President Mahmoud Abbas on 27 August.

Quartet envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair has spent the last few days trying to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but resumption of negotiations before September appears unlikely.