U.S. Pushing “Silent Agreement” to Postpone U.N. Vote on Palestinian Statehood

On Tuesday, September 20, the Palestinian Authority unveiled a large, blue chair in Ramallah representing Palestine's seat at the U.N. Photo by Joseph Dana.

Originally published on Tikkun Daily

According to a report from Haaretz, the Obama administration is engaged in behind-the-scenes efforts to delay voting on recognition of Palestine as an independent state in both the General Assembly and the Security Council.

A “silent agreement” is reportedly in place between several Western countries to postpone the U.N. votes through a number of bureaucratic stalling tactics, the use of which are being promoted by Washington.

On Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to present an official request to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon which will specify the Palestinians’ desire to seek full U.N. membership through the Security Council. While a vote on the request could take place by early October, sources indicate that the potential exists for such a vote to be postponed by months.

According to Shlomo Shamir, there are several options available to the Obama administration for postponement of voting in the Security Council, including the use of closed-door consultations:

If the Palestinian request does go ahead on Friday, the United States can refer the request to a debate inside the framework of informal consultations that Security Council members hold behind closed doors – a procedure that could last weeks or months…a month ago, France distributed a draft resolution that included sanctions against Syria. The draft has not yet reached a discussion because Russia, with the support of China, has been delaying discussions of the draft at the Security Council.

Some suggest that Abbas might actually be interested in such a delay, for it would give him more time to make diplomatic progress. However, activity in the West Bank seems to run counter to such claims, for the PA is planning a massive rally on Wednesday in Ramallah in support of the U.N. statehood initiative. The Palestinians are hoping for tens of thousands to march in the streets, and anticipation for the vote is growing. According to Joseph Dana:

Schools will close early so that students can take part in large rallies in support of statehood. Roughly 80,000 government employees will be given time off as [Abbas] taps all of the resources that his governing Fatah party have in the West Bank to ensure mass turn out.

Additionally, the Palestinians are busy whipping votes on the Security Council to try and secure a majority, which would force the U.S. to use its veto – something the Obama administration is desperately working to avoid given the irrevocable damage such a vote would do to America’s already-shaky standing in the Middle East. Indications are that the African nation of Gabon, which is still undecided on the matter, may end up determining whether the Palestinians achieve a majority in the Security Council.

If the votes fall the Palestinians’ way, look for the Obama administration to begin utilizing procedural stalling tactics as a way to buy more time as Washington frantically works to derail the Palestinians’ U.N. bid.

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Follow me on Twitter @David_EHG


About David Harris-Gershon

David Harris-Gershon – a blogger for Tikkun magazine and a freelance writer on Israel, the Middle East and America’s role in the region – has recently published work in The Jerusalem Post, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, AlterNet, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Colorado Review and elsewhere. His memoir – What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife? – is forthcoming from Oneworld Publications (2013). He received his MFA from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and has worked extensively as an educator, teaching creative writing and Israeli History / Jewish Studies in university and high school classrooms. Follow David on Twitter @David_EHG

Posted on September 20, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The US shud NOT interfere with Palestine’s bid for UN recognition: It wud just be more ‘trust us
    and wait longer’. Palestine has waited long enuf and the US has supported Israel’s ‘drang nach
    osten’ [drive to the east] long enuf. Bibi and his gang have no intention of meeting Palestine face-
    to-face and ending this nightmare…His speech before our Congress reminded me of those in the
    1933-45 Reichstag–nuf said…How Israel thinks that everyone supports their ‘flyswatter’ approach
    to land-theft and other outrages is beyond me…Once the boundries are agreed [if ever] and the
    IDF, INP, and settlers’ goons are sent home, Palestine can build its own, non-Israeli type society
    and communicate with, and trade with, the rest of the world. The Pals shud then shun any die-
    hard settlers/hilltoppers/soldaten/vandals/etc…I hope that Palestine can prevent the ‘delay’ by
    the US and any other countries…We don’t owe Israel any favors in spite of the influence of their
    spies and agents…Aaron Allen…

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