PLO briefs Europe on U.N. upgrade plans

The Ma’an news agency reports: The PLO began distributing a position paper to European governments on Wednesday, detailing plans to seek an upgrade of Palestine’s status at the United Nations in November.

In the document, obtained by Ma’an, the PLO emphasizes that membership in the UN is no substitute for negotiations with Israel. But it says Palestine’s right to self-determination does not require Israeli approval.

The text underscores concerns about how the United States and Israel will respond if the UN bid succeeds, and it asks European countries not to go along with possible sanctions against the Palestinian Authority.

“Palestine asks the world to reaffirm that the Palestinians are not the exception to the international rule; that they will not be punished for pursuing a peaceful, political and diplomatic initiative on the basis of international law,” the document says.

The message followed a private US memo sent to European diplomats in early October warning that any UN upgrade of Palestine’s status “would be extremely counterproductive” for the Palestinians and threatening “significant negative consequences”.

If the UN bid succeeds, Palestine’s “observer entity” status would change to “observer state”, granting access to bodies such as the International Criminal Court.

The PLO has sought to reassure Europe and the US, key financiers of the Palestinian Authority, that it does not seek to isolate Israel, which has threatened to respond with sanctions.

“The Palestinian initiative intends to protect the prospects of peace and accelerate its realization. This step reaffirms and protects the internationally-endorsed two-state solution,” the document says. [Continue reading…]

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