Thursday, September 08, 2011 - Ryan Jones
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is deliberately exploiting a speech by US President Barack Obama to drum up support for the Palestinians' unilateral statehood bid at the UN later this month.
As part of a worldwide media campaign ahead of the September 21 motion for Palestinian statehood, Abbas' regime has produced a radio spot that includes Obama saying the following to the UN General Assembly in 2010:
"When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that can lead to a new member of the United Nations, an independent, sovereign state of Palestine living in peace with Israel."
Obama Administration officials insist the president was simply expressing his hopes that a two-state peace deal would be concluded by now, but Abbas states at the end of the radio spot: "If he said it, he must have meant it."
Palestinian officials have said they are angry with Obama because, like previous US presidents, he has said much about helping establish a Palestinian state, but have failed to force Israel to meet Palestinian demands in that regard.
The Palestinian Authority's systematic violation of signed peace agreements and ongoing Palestinian terror attacks against Israel are dismissed by these same officials as the real reasons a Palestinian state has not been realized.
Going back to the UN statehood bid, the Palestinian Authority on Thursday officially notified the office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of its intention to seek membership in the world body of nations.
The letter sent to Ban's office called on him to "exert all possible efforts toward the achievement of the Palestinian people's just demands."
The letter was seen as a diplomatic slap in the face to Washington, which just a day earlier had formally requested that the Palestinian Authority abandon its unilateral statehood bid, and return to the path of bilateral negotiations with Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu followed up by issuing a direct call to Abbas to return to the negotiating table.
"I call from this stage to the president of the PA to come to direct negotiations without preconditions, and to remain there until it is finished," Netanyahu said during a naval ceremony in Haifa.
Both Obama and Netanyahu insist that a unilateral action by the Palestinians will not achieve peace, and may actually spark renewed conflict.
Will Obama vote in favor of the Palestinian State as promised...or, will he vote against it...or, will he abstain? We will know very soon.