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Arab States Pressure Abbas to Avoid UN Bid

Arab countries put pressure on the Palestinian Authority to discourage it from requesting recognition of independence from the United Nations Security Council, a Palestinian official revealed on October 19.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced last month he would appeal to the U.N. General Assembly and then to the Security Council in a new effort to establish a Palestinian state. The announcement angered officials in Washington and Israel, who see this as a unilateral action and counterproductive to the peace process.

Qais Abdul Karim, an official in the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, told the arab48 (Arabic link) website that not only Israel and the U.S., but also “some Arab states” put pressure on Abbas to prevent him from the appealing. Similar comments were made by Saleh Rafat, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in an interview to Voice of Palestine radio station.

Palestinian commentators also criticized Abbas’s plan. Various commentators said (Arabic link) Abbas’s statements contradict the Palestinian national position. “He talks a lot and does little,” they explained. Political science professor at al-Najah University Abdul Sattar Qassem  emphasized:

“President Mahmoud Abbas’s remarks often reflect assumptions and illusions and do not reflect a real potential…His remarks are not taken seriously on the global level, because the world knows what his abilities are.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is also pushing hard against the move, Arabic media reported on October 20. A-Sharq al-Awsat said Abbas is considering a delay. The newspaper also mentioned the Palestinians are discussing an option of declaring a “state under occupation” and ending the security coordination and economic agreements with Israel.

[Photo: Rob Young / flickr]