Daily Israel Report

Visiting Senator: Idea of Unilateral PA State ‘Dead on Arrival’

US Sen. Ted Kaufman, visiting in Israel, said that the PA scheme to have the UN declare it to be a state would be “dead on arrival.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/17/2009, 12:55 PM / Last Update: 11/17/2009, 3:31 PM

US Senate

The chances of the Palestinian Authority convincing the United Nations to recognize the PA as an independent Arab country are “dead on arrival,” according to Democratic U.S. Senator Ted Kaufman, visiting Israel from his home state of Delaware. Speaking at a news conference Monday at the Saban Forum, he was joined by other senators who also ridiculed the idea.

Independent U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, a former candidate for vice president for the Democratic party, called the Arab effort a "waste of time” because it would eliminate Israel from the diplomatic process. "I hope and presume that the United States would veto such a move if it ever came to the [United Nations] Security Council," said Lieberman. 

Asked if the Obama administration will give a positive answer to the PA’s intended request for backing United Nations recognition, U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters, “Well, I don't think that - I'm not aware that they have come to us seeking our opinion or our approval. I mean, our position is clear… We understand that people might be frustrated, but we are convinced that this has to be achieved through negotiation between the two parties.”

Pressed as to whether the United States would veto such a U.N. resolution, Kelly replied, “I'm not going to say we're going to - I mean, I don't - I can't say we're going to veto something we haven't seen or hasn't even been proposed yet."

The Obama administration still is trying to convince PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to resume negotiations with Israel for the establishment of a new PA state, despite his refusal to talk unless Israel agrees to pre-conditions that the Netanyahu government has ruled out. U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell met again this week with Israeli negotiators, this time in London.

Kelly rejected a reporter’s suggestion that Mitchell has achieved “zero results,” explaining, “I know that 10 months sounds like a long time when it's said out of context, but this problem has been going on for decades.”

PA officials asserted they are undaunted by warnings from several Israeli leaders that any unilateral action by the PA might be met by Israel’s officially annexing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary-general of the PLO's Central Committee, said at a rally in Ramallah, he said, “We are now facing a moment of truth. We will seek to pass this [U.N.] Security Council resolution and the activation of the Fourth Geneva Convention to protect the Palestinian people.

“We don't resort to unilateral policies for the simple fact that we aren't isolated. We aren't alone. Only pariahs embrace unilateralism."