Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon Official Photo/UN

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reaffirmed his support for an independent Palestinian state Friday saying UN membership for the PA was an issue for member states to decide.

However, the United States for the first time Thursday said explicitly it would use its veto in the Security Council to stop the PA bid for full UN membership if the matter went ahead at the next General Assembly, which opens on Sept. 19.

Without approval from the Security Council the PA bid, even though wide support in the General Assembly is expected, will likely be a symbolic gesture aimed at generating propaganda and lawfare suits to pressure Israel with.

Ban, winding up a trip to Australia and the South Pacific, said he strongly supported a two-state solution where "Palestinians and Israelis can live side by side in peace and security."

"I support also the statehood of Palestinians, an independent sovereign state of Palestine. It has been long overdue," Ban told reporters in Canberra before he left Australia.

US President Barack Obama had set down a good framework for peace negotiations, Ban said, but insisted at the same time it was up to the UN member states to decide on UN membership for the PA even if there were no negotiations.

"So I leave it to the member states to decide whether to recognize or not recognize," he said.

Representatives of various factions in PA and Hamas administered enclaves on Thursday delivered a letter to Ban asking for his support for accepting a 'Palestinian state' as a full member of the UN.

Palestinian Authority officials denied that the letter was an official request to the UN to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines, but reports indicate the resolution for membership asks for recognition of a state with those boundaries.

Israeli officials are preparing for widespread violence emanating from PA and Hamas enclaves after the vote irrespective of the outcome, but have not outlined a clear policy for how they plan to respond to the PA should their bid – in the General Assembly – find wide support.