Palestinian UN bid ‘without substance’: Israeli minister



Zeenews Bureau

Jerusalem: In a scathing comment on Palestinian UN bid, Israel's deputy foreign minister on Thursday said that Palestine’s pursuit of international recognition could hit back on them and that it was "virtual move without any substance”.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon claimed that "the Palestinians will come out the losers in the end."

"In my opinion, it's a losing proposition," Ayalon said to Army radio. "It's a virtual move without any substance."

Israel’s deputy FM’s statement comes as the United Nations General Assembly is set to vote on a resolution today that would recognize the non-member state of Palestine in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

At present, Palestine is just an observer entity and not state.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the UN bid is significant if he wants to maintain his leadership and relevance. The Islamic militant group's standing in the Arab world has risen as changes sweep the region, while Abbas' Fatah movement, which governs the West Bank, has been sidelined and marginalized.

Palestinian bid for statehood is expected to be supported heavily in a 193-member UNGA, despite severe opposition by the US and Israel.

Also, in the General Assembly, Palestine don’t have to worry about a US veto as in the Security Council.

Backing for the Palestinians' appeal to the UN bid came from an unexpected quarter Thursday, when former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quoted as saying the Palestinian request "is congruent with the basic concept" of the two-state solution.

"Therefore, I see no reason to oppose it," said, according to The Daily Beast news website. An Olmert spokesman did not return a call for comment.

Olmert, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and their teams conducted peace talks in 2007 through early 2009, but never clinched a deal.

The US and Israel mounted an aggressive campaign to head off the General Assembly vote.

In a last-ditch move Wednesday, US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns made a personal appeal to Abbas, promising that President Barack Obama would re-engage as a mediator in 2013 if Abbas abandoned the statehood effort. The Palestinian leader refused, according to Abbas' aide Saeb Erekat.

The Palestinians are turning to the General Assembly a year after they failed to muster Security Council to recognize "Palestine" as a full-fledged UN member.

With Agency Inputs