- On Air
- Music News
- Calendar of Events
- Support WERS
- About WERS
The United States and Israel are scrambling to contain the expected political fallout after failing to stop a vote in the United Nations that would officially declare Palestine a state.
The 193-member U.N. General Assembly voted Thursday on a resolution that could change the Palestinian Authority to a non-member observer state. It is likely to pass, even though the U.S. and a handful of other nations are opposed.
“No one should be under any illusion that this resolution is going to produce the results that the Palestinians claim to seek, namely to have their own state living in peace next to Israel,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
A major concern now for the Americans is that the Palestinians might use their new status to try to join the International Criminal Court. That prospect particularly worries the Israelis, who fear that the Palestinians will investigate their practices in occupied territories.
The US also worries Palestinians might use the vote to seek membership in specialized agencies of the United Nations. This could cause potential consequences for the financing produced for international organizations and the Palestinian authority itself. U.S. Congress cut off financing to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2011 after it accepted Palestine as a member. The United States is a major contributor to many of these agencies.
“We have money pending in the Congress for the Palestinian Authority, money that they need to support their regular endeavors and to support administration of the territories. So, obviously, if they take this step, it’s going to complicate the way the Congress looks at the Palestinians,”said Nuland.
Israel has occupied Palestine since the UN General Assembly voted on November 29, 1947 to partition the British-ruled state into a Jewish and an Arab state.
In final move to postpone the vote, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns made an appeal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas assuring that President Barack Obama would re-engage as a mediator in 2013 if they would abandon the push for statehood. The Palestinian leader refused.
“We remain committed to the two-state solution and our hand remains extended in peace,” Abbas said in a statement after the start of the General Assembly session.