Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sounded a defiant note, today, while still recognizing the consequences of asking the United Nations to grant Palestinians statehood.
Abbas said he planned on presenting a formal request to the U.N. during his speech on Friday. As Reuters reports, Abbas also said “all hell has broken out” against them because of the decision.
Abbas, speaking en route to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, said he had been told by the United States and European governments that “matters will be bad” after a move which reflects his frustration with a moribund peace process.
“To what extent, we will know later on,” said Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority which depends on international financial aid for its survival in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The United States and Israel wanted to keep the peace process restricted to “a bilateral dialogue” overseen from afar by Washington, he said. But all the while this dialogue had failed, prompting the U.N. membership move.
“We decided to take this step and all hell has broken out against us,” he told reporters on his flight to New York.
This move is risky for the Palestinian Authority, because it relies heavily on Western aid for its survival. The AP reports that Abbas said that he was under “tremendous pressure” to drop the bid. But earlier today, he met with U.S. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and reiterated his plans.
The U.S. opposes the Palestinian Authority’s move because, as Secretary State Hilary Clinton, said last week, “The only way of getting a lasting solution is through direct negotiations between the parties and the route to that lies in Jerusalem and Ramallah, not in New York.”
So what happens next? Abbas delivers a speech and letter to the U.N. The Security Council votes on it. The United States, a permanent member of the Security Council, has vowed to veto the petition.
The Palestinian Authority can still ask the full General Assembly to upgrade them from an “entity” to a “non-member state.”
Reuters reports that the Palestinian Authority may have sufficient votes to achieve that.