Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat met with the heads of EU missions in Jerusalem to seek their help in drafting a resolution to the UN General Assembly in New York to admit Palestine as a non-member observer state, Israel daily The Jerusalem Post reported.
The EU has yet to declare its position on the Palestinian appeal, which has drawn criticism from both the US and Israel, both of whom insist that only direct negotiations with the Jewish State can settle the issue of statehood, but fear that any such resolution could be adopted as a compromise, following last year’s rejection of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ appeal for unilateral statehood at the UN.
The issue is expected to be discussed at the next meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg on October 15.
The report follows a report by British daily The Guardian that the US warned EU governments against supporting the Palestinian bid for upgraded status at the UN, a bid they are thought to be delaying until after the US presidential elections on November 6.
A likely date is touted as the next General Assembly on November 29, the anniversary of the 1947 Partition Plan which paved the way for the formation of the State of Israel.
Despite American concerns, their strong stance against the application will have little practical impact, as the US has no veto at the UN General Assembly.
The alleged US memorandum to EU leaders insisted that granting the Palestinian Authority (PA) UN non-member status "would have significant negative consequences, for the peace process itself, for the UN system, as well as our ability to maintain our significant financial support for the Palestinian Authority".
Following EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s meeting with Abbas in New York, she critically failed to make any comment on the planned Palestinian appeal for non member status, instead issuing a statement reiterating “the EU's commitment to the creation of a future sovereign, independent, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security with Israel”.
"The EU is determined to help bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and believes that substantive negotiations aiming at a comprehensive solution are the best way forward," it continued.
Fears will have mounted the UN may be on the verge of capitulating, however, with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s statement calling on the international community to strengthen its support for the PA.
“The vision of a two-State solution and the achievements of the Palestinian Authority are key elements of stability and progress. They must be maintained and realized in full without further delay,” he insisted.
It is not thought that the EU will be able to reach a consensus position on the resolution, with votes likely to be divided in the manner of the UNESCO vote on Palestinian admission, which saw 11 EU countries taking a pro position, five voting against and 11 abstaining.
This development would seriously undermine the EU’s apparent public relations drive ahead of its unprecedented delegation to the General Assembly last week, which saw a statement released on the EU’s involvement at UN level, highlighting the unanimity of EU members’ voting patterns at General Assembly level across 27 of its member states as well as its four members commanding permanent positions on the UN Security Council.
Critically the statement also aligned the EU’s status at the UN with that of the PA, which it referred to as a country in its own right, for its ability “to intervene in the general debate at the opening of the General Assembly”.
Ahead of Abbas’ address to the UN, Erekat issued a statement from his office in the West Bank city of Jericho, warning that should the initiative prove successful, “life will not be the same”.
“Yes, the occupation will continue, the settlements will continue, the crimes of the settlers may continue, but there will be consequences”, he added. “After the UN vote ... Palestine will become a country under occupation. Israel will not be able to say that this is a disputed area.”