Palestinians warn Obama not to stand in way of statehood

Sunday, September 18, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

The Palestinian Authority knows all the right buttons to push with Washington. The Palestinian leadership is fully aware of the value US President Barack Obama (like his predecessors) puts on overseeing an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, and has regularly wielding that weakness like a diplomatic bludgeon against the White House.

On Saturday, the Palestinians were at it again, warning the Obama Administration that vetoing their UN Security Council bid for statehood would "destroy" the two-state solution to the conflict.

"Anyone who supports the two-state solution should back the Palestinian effort [at the UN]," insisted chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Senior PLO official Zakariya al-Agha followed up by reminding Obama that in September of 2010 he promised that a Palestinian state would be established in one year.

The warnings cames just hours after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas confirmed in a speech in Ramallah that on Friday, September 23 he will address the UN General Assembly, after which he will submit to the Security Council an official application for UN membership for "Palestine."

The Obama White House has repeatedly stated that it will veto the motion, with Obama himself going so far as to call the Palestinian stunt a "distraction."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu couldn't agree more, and continues to call on Abbas to return to the negotiating table.

"Peace is not achieved by taking unilateral steps at the UN and not by linking up with the Hamas terror organization. Peace can only be achieved through direct negotiations with Israel," said Netanyahu in a statement released by his office.

"The leadership of the Palestinian Authority has consistently evaded peace negotiations with Israel," continued Netanyahu, recalling the fact that ever since he took office in 2009, Abbas has refused to talk peace, constantly introducing new preconditions he knew Israel could not accept.

Abbas chose to paint the situation differently, telling reporters that he had tried everything, but that despite his "extensive and sincere" efforts he simply was not able to achieve a Palestinian state through peaceful negotiations.

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