Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas warned on Friday that he may seek non-member status for a Palestinian state at the United Nations if peace talks with Israel do not resume, The Associated Press reported.
The PA currently has observer status at the UN and an upgrade by the General Assembly to “non-member” would give Palestine recognition as a “state”. This could open the way for PA Arabs to take legal action against Israelis through the International Criminal Court.
Speaking at a news conference with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, Abbas said, “We went to the Security Council. We did not obtain the vote necessary. If we don’t return to the (peace) negotiations, we’ll of course go to the General Assembly to obtain the status of non-member state, as is the case for the Vatican or Switzerland.”
He added, according to AP, “Of course, we are going to encounter many obstacles.” He did not specify when he might take his bid to the General Assembly.
The UN Security Council blocked Abbas’ bid to become a full member last September, after he failed to get the required support of nine of the Security Council’s 15 members.
“As for the negotiations,” Abbas said, “I just want to say that the ball is in [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu’s court. If Mr. Netanyahu agrees to end the colonization and recognize the borders, we will be inclined to take steps in this direction.”
He also said, according to a report in the PA-based WAFA news agency, that “if Israel agreed to release prisoners, and allowed us to import weapons to the police, we can sit down with Mr. Netanyahu.”
Abbas has continued to demand that Israel accept the indefensible pre-1967 lines as final borders, release all Arab terrorists from its jails, and halt construction in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem for a second time before talks begin.
The previous 10-month construction freeze in the 'disputed territories' by Israel was not only rebuffed, but met with the failed statehood bid at the UN.
Peace talks between Israel and the PA have been frozen since Jordan hosted a series of “exploratory meetings” between PA and Israeli representatives several months ago. The PA refused to continue to talk after those meetings and threatened to cancel all agreements signed after 2000 if Israel does not agree to all its preconditions before peace talks.
In a speech in Tunisia last month, Abbas claimed Netanyahu is “a partner for peace”, but repeated his demand that Netanyahu choose “between peace and settlements.”
Netanyahu, meanwhile, said last week he believes his 94-seat super-coalition is a historic opportunity – and mandate – for peace.
Netanyahu called on Abbas “not to miss this unique opportunity and give peace a chance.”
"Let me clarify – I have not set any conditions to enter into negotiations," he said, repeating his willingness to begin negotiations immediately. "Certainly I will have conditions to conclude negotiations, and so will Mahmoud Abbas. This is natural and it is the reason we conduct negotiations. But this is why I say to Abbas – don't miss out on this opportunity to extend your hand in peace."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)