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      US Position Upsets PA

      Officials in Ramallah complain the United States is threatening them over their statehood bid at the UN on September 20.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 9/6/2011, 10:45 PM

      Saeb Erekat
      Saeb Erekat
      Flash 90

      Palestinian Authority officials complained Tuesday the United States was threatening them due to their intention to make a statehood bid at the United Nations on September 20.

      "The US Administration is continuing to threaten the PA that it must abandon its plan to ask the United Nations Security council to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines," Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

      “The official American position is: ‘Don’t go to the Security Council and return to the negotiations with Israel,’” Erekat added.

      Erekat complained that the Americans have not offered the PA anything in return for abandoning the statehood bid. However, Erekat said that the US Administration has also made it clear that Washington does not want a confrontation with the PA over this matter.

      “Despite these threats, the Palestinians have informed the Americans that we will go to the Security Council to ask for full membership of a Palestinian state in line with Palestinian interests and because this is not a unilateral act,” Erekat was quoted as saying.

      He added that after the UN vote later this month, the 'state of Palestine' would be under occupation and Israel would be held responsible – according to international agreements and conventions – fully responsible for health, education, security and other things.

      Israeli officials, however, have made it clear that while they have extensive agreements with the Palestinian Authority, they have no agreements with a 'Palestinian government.'

      It is unclear, without agreements governing ministerial contacts, tax refunds, security cooperation, or essential infrastructure including electricity, telecommunications, and water, how a nascent, overdrawn and aid-funds dependent 'Palestinian government' would survive – especially when donors have been slow to pay and the US has threatened to cut off funds entirely.

      “The rest of the members of the UN would be obliged to help Palestine get rid of the occupation,” Erekat claimed.

      The fact that no Palestinian state existed when Israel assumed administrative control of 'disputed territories' captured in 1967, or that the unilateral ex-nihilo creation of a government in Ramallah would not change demands from the international community that the PA negotiate with Israel, did not seem to influence Erekat's thinking.

      Erekat insisted some 125 countries have already recognized the Palestinian state. He said that the number was expected to rise to 150 during the vote at the UN General Assembly at the recommendation of the Security Council.

      But without US backing in the Security Council the tally of nations supporting the PA is next to meaningless as a US veto will render the statehood bid moot from the outset - and leave the PA in a deadlock with an Israel deeply unamused by its antics at the world body.

      PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said that the Palestinians were going to the UN later this month “in spite of the pressures and objections.”

      Abed Rabbo said that he did not expect Ross and Hale to bring anything new. “All indications are that they are not carrying anything new to revive the peace process,” he claimed. “All we know is that they are carrying threats, warnings and financial boycotts.”