Apparently concerned that Palestinian statehood could become an election issue in the United States, the White House is reportedly putting pressure on the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, asking them to delay their statehood bid at the UN until after the November US vote.
The Palestinians are seeking “non-member state” status at the UN, an upgrade from their current status as a non-state “observer.” Israel has loudly objected to the idea of Palestinian statehood recognition, and the US has promised repeatedly to veto the effort.
It isn’t clear why this would be a problem for Obama’s reelection campaign, since he and opponent Mitt Romney are both trying to prove their unquestioning dedication to Israel’s current government on all issues, but trying to “punt” issues into the period after the election has become a regular part of administration policy, with Obama also pressing Russia to stop complaining about the NATO missile shield until after the vote, and Syrian rebel lobbyists claiming the administration had told them there would be no military action until after the January inauguration.
The Palestinians have been seeking this bid for a solid year now, trying to secure a solid majority of UN Security Council members in the hope of shaming the US into not vetoing the project. It isn’t clear which side has the majority, but it is likely to be close.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas is opposed to delaying the vote any further, saying that there will always be obstacles which people will use as excuses for delay, and with the peace process still frozen they can’t afford to simply wait.