Palestinian Authority MP Hanan Ashrawi confirmed today what many already assumed to be the case: that the PA will ask the UN Security Council for a September vote on recognition of their status as an independent state.
The vote has been widely expected and the PA appears to have considerable support for statehood. The primary obstacle is, as ever, the United States, and the prospect that the Obama Administration will veto the bid.
The US has angrily condemned the notion of Palestinian statehood as a “provocation,” insisting such a move could only come with direct Israeli permission. Israel, for its part, is expressing concern about popular uprisings against the occupation of the West Bank when the vote comes and is, presumably, vetoed.
Ashrawi, for her part, urged the US to simply abstain if it opposes statehood, instead of vetoing the measure outright. Other reports have Palestinain officials suggesting that they would attempt to do an end-around of the UNSC and try to get approval in the General Assembly, where no vetos exist and its broad support would be almost assured.
A veto would be particularly embarrassing for the US at the moment, even though its veto on all things Palestinian is seen by Israeli officials as a virtual given. With a number of major protests across the Middle East, having the US standing directly against independence on one of the region’s biggest issues would be hugely damaging.