Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submitted an application for full membership at the United Nations, followed by Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's addresses to the United Nations General Assembly. For additional information about these speeches visit the Hadassah Advocacy website. Videos and transcripts of the speeches can be found at the links below.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: Video, Transcript
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Video, Transcript
Today, the United Nations Security Council is holding a closed-door preliminary meeting to discuss the Palestinian's application for UN membership. There are several possible results of this meeting, however it is unlikely that any decision regarding Palestinian membership will be reached in the coming weeks. Click here for more details.
What Happens Next?
- At some point the Security Council may vote on the Palestinian membership.
- Nine (out of 15) of the Security Council's member countries must vote in favor of membership for the application to proceed.
- Any member of the Security Council may veto or abstain.
- A single veto would mean that the vote does not pass.
- The United States has pledged that it will exercise its veto if necessary.
- A failure of the Security Council vote (or no vote at all) could prompt the Palestinians to pursue a vote in the General Assembly, which could give them an elevated status, though not full membership.
- Opponents are concerned that, given elevated status, the Palestinians will abuse their access to the International Criminal Court by pursing erroneous cases against Israeli officials.
On Friday, the Quartet—comprised of the United States, United Nations, European Union, and Russia—released a statement outlining a proposed timetable for peace negotiations, including a "preparatory meeting" within a month and a commitment to "reach an agreement within a time frame agreed to by the parties but not longer than the end of 2012." The statement also urged both sides "to overcome the current obstacles and resume direct bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without delay or preconditions."
Initially, the Quartet had planned to announce an agreement on new "terms of reference," which would serve as an official framework for resumed talks. However, sources have revealed that the issue of whether and how the Palestinians would acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state could not be resolved.
Despite this obstacle, Israelis from across the political spectrum have stated support for the proposal and have agreed to restart talks. Abbas, however, has reiterated his demand for a settlement freeze—which was not mentioned in the statement—as a pre-condition for any negotiations.Date: 9/26/2011