Senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath said Saturday the US was trying to avoid using its veto by pressuring UN Security Council members to vote against a Palestinian bid for UN membership.
At a news conference in Ramallah, Shaath said nine countries in the 15-member council had already recognized the state of Palestine and established diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority.
The PLO needs nine votes to win a resolution admitting Palestine as a full member in the world body, but Washington has vowed to use its veto if Palestine wins a majority.
If the PLO fail to secure nine votes on the council, the US will not have to use its veto, something Washington would prefer to avoid in order not to spark anti-American demonstrations across the Middle East.
Shaath said Palestinian officials would continue to urge council members to support the bid, adding that the American pressure was “unacceptable.”
The PLO has other alternatives if the request for full UN membership fails but these plans will only be considered once the Security Council reaches a decision, Shaath said.
Palestine’s application is being considered by a council admissions committee, which met Friday to discuss the bid.
After the closed-door meeting, Lebanese UN Ambassador Nawaf Salam said the committee unanimously agreed to continue meeting next week.
Washington has said that the only way to establish a Palestinian state is by direct talks with Israel. The PLO ended negotiations with Israel a year ago after the Israelis refused to extend a partial moratorium on illegal settlements.
Shaath told reporters that the PLO would not resume negotiations with Israel while it continued “to violate all agreements,” noting that Israel approved the construction of 1,100 new settlement units days after the Quartet of the UN, EU, US and Russia issued a proposal to renew talks.
“Negotiations can’t go ahead while Israel continues to violate all agreements, without the Quartet punishing them for that. While the Palestinians are being asked to negotiate, Israel continues to impose de facto on the ground,” Shaath said.
He added that the Palestinians were “disappointed and irritated” by the behavior of Quartet envoy Tony Blair, but said no decision had been taken to request his dismissal.
Referring to Blair’s efforts to stop the PLO from submitting the UN application, Shaath said: “This is unacceptable, and the role he played was negative as his main interest was to satisfy Israel.”