United Nations
United Nations Israel news photo: UN.org

Behind the scenes, the US continues to thwart symbolic efforts to gain national status for the Palestinian Authority.

A recent example occurred in Mexico last month, at a meeting of the International Telecommunications Union. The PA delegation originally sought the rights of a member state in the union, but abandoned its efforts when the U.S. objected. 

In September, the United States opposed a PA attempt to gain concrete rights in another UN body, namely, the UNESCO committee where states may seek the return of antiquities. PA  antiquities ministry official Hamdan Taha said that the PA wants to recover tens of thousands of artifacts removed by Israel over the past six decades.

The American stance is consistent with its long-standing policy to treat the PA as the non-state it is; for instance, the PA has only observer status in the United Nations.

In a speech earlier this month, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas criticized the U.S. for blocking its aspirations for statehood. He said that this goal is a “promise and a debt around [Obama’s] neck and it must be realized." A PA official told Reuters that the U.S. pours generous funds into PA projects, but does not offer sufficient support on the political level.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, for his part, has agreed only to a demilitarized PA state, to which the PA has never agreed. In addition, any PA state has often been made contingent upon its recognition of Israel as a Jewish state – which has never been forthcoming – and an agreement on borders; the PA has refused offers as high as the equivalent of 100% of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, including 6.5% of exchanged territory.