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PA Threatens US Over Security Council Veto

Officials in Ramallah warned the US its promised Security Council veto of the PA statehood bid will 'destroy' the two-state solution.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 9/17/2011, 7:51 PM

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority officials on Saturday threatened the United States saying vetoing its statehood bid in the United Nations Security Council next week would "destroy" the so-called two-state solution.

The warning came hours after PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced in a speech in Ramallah that he would ask the UN Security Council to accept membership of a PA state despite a firm US warning the move would fail.

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat warned a US veto would not only destroy the two-state solution, but could lead to the dismantling of the PA.

"Anyone who supports the two-state solution should back the Palestinian effort [at the UN]," he said.

Erekat hinted that if the PLO dismantles the PA, it would subsequently insisting on the 'right of return' for millions of 'Palestinian refugees' to Israel.

Abbas said that his "extensive and sincere" efforts to reach an agreement that would end occupation and lead to an independent Palestinian state through negotiations have hit a dead end, blaming Israeli "intransigence."

"We seek to gain membership in the UN on the basis of the 1967 borders so that we could afterward return to the negotiations on a clear and internationally recognized reference."

Abbas said that the statehood bid was only part of the Palestinian strategy that is designed to "put the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital back on the geography map."

He also cautioned Arabs in PA enclaves against resorting to violence, stressing that support for the statehood bid should be "peaceful." Otherwise, he said, this could "harm us and sabotage our efforts."

Abbas made it clear that the statehood bid would not affect the status of the PLO as "the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians." saying that the PLO would continue to exist and function not only until a solution is reached, but until it's implemented.

But according to reports in the Arabic-language press, PA rhetoric has not only left US officials unmoved, but damaged PA-US ties so deeply it could lead to the cessation of US funding for Ramallah.

According to the London based Arabic daily Al Hayat the statement was made not only "from officials close to Israel, such as White House adviser Dennis Ross, but also others such as [Special Assistant to US President Barack Obama] Samantha Powers."

The United States, along with Israel and the Palestinian Authority, are signatories to the 1993 Oslo Accords, which proscribes unilateral moves by either party.

US officials firmly opposed the PA statehood bid, noting it is contrary to the Oslo framework, and called on officials in Ramallah to return to the negotiating table.

"What we are focused on is ... getting them back to the table so that they can address the many final status issues and reach a comprehensive peace agreement that results in two states living side by side," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

US lawmakers in Congress, over State Department objections, have overwhelmingly called on the Obama administration to cut funding to the PA should it present its bid to the world body.