The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Tuesday endorsed a decision by President Mahmoud Abbas to request a United Nations Security Council vote on a resolution recognizing a Palestinian state, even though it is destined to fail.
The endorsement came at a meeting in Ramallah of the PLO executive committee, the highest Palestinian authority, which set aside the alternative of asking the U.N. General Assembly to upgrade Palestine's U.N. status short of full membership.
It did not say when a Council vote would be requested.
The Executive committee stresses the necessity to continue working with the Security Council to pursue the cause of achieving the full membership of Palestine, an official statement said.
It backed Abbas's decision not to go to the General Assembly at this stage, while keeping all options open.
Abbas is seeking statehood for Palestinians without waiting any longer for a breakthrough in negotiations with Israel on a peace treaty to end the 63-year-old Middle East conflict.
The Palestinians say they have been patient for 20 years of futile talks. But Israel and its main ally the United States have warned Abbas that only a peace treaty can establish a universally recognized Palestinian state.
The issue has split the Security Council.
Diplomats say Russia, China, Lebanon, Brazil, India, South Africa and probably Gabon and Nigeria would support the Palestinians. The United States would vote against and Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Colombia and Bosnia would likely abstain, with Germany possibly voting against.
The makeup of the Council will be different in the New Year, when five seats change hands.
Our strategy now is to continue knocking on the door of the Security Council and not other doors, Foreign Minister Reyad Al-Malki told Voice of Palestine radio Tuesday.
NO VETO REQUIRED
The United Nations currently considers Palestine an observer entity. Abbas applied on September 23 for full U.N. membership for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
He passed up the less ambitious but more promising option of asking the General Assembly to upgrade Palestine to an observer non-member state like the Vatican.
U.S. President Barack Obama warned he would veto a Security Council resolution backing Palestinian statehood. But no U.S. veto will in fact be necessary when it comes to a vote, because Abbas lacks support from at least 9 of the 15 Security Council members needed to pass a resolution and force Obama's hand.
Middle East peace talks have been suspended for more than a year. Abbas refuses to negotiate while Israel goes on building settlements on occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem land, and Israel refuses to halt its settlement construction.
Abbas' drive for recognition regardless of the peace process scored a victory two weeks ago, when 103 states at the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO voted to upgrade the Palestinians to full membership status.
The UNESCO success is costing the Palestinian Authority about $100 million per month in lost revenues, following Israel's decision to freeze transfer of the tax revenues and customs duties it collects on its behalf.
(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Douglas Hamilton; Editing by Jon Hemming)