The US has once again set out its position against the PA seeking recognition of Palestinian statehood in September at the United Nations. The US’s standing envoy to the Middle East David Hale and senior US diplomat Dennis Ross have set out US objections to the move with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat according to department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. US representatives for the Middle East have again laid out US opposition to Palestinian attempts to declare statehood without the approval of Israel. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was reminded of the US position during talks aimed at re-establishing peace talks between Israel and Palestinian leaders during a recent meeting in Washington, according to AFP.
The US House of Representative’s is set to overwhelmingly pass a resolution warning the PA of a cut in US funding if they continue with their current plans for recognition following a similar resolution in the US Senate last week.
The resolutions also call on US President Obama to suspend funds to the Palestinian Authority pending investigations into the nature of the recent unity deal between Hamas and Fatah. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has announced that the interim unity government between the two Palestinian factions will be delayed so as not disadvantage PA efforts to lobby international governments into supporting Palestinian statehood.
The PA has recently stated through spokespeople that it would be willing to drop its plans for September if the Middle East Quartet (US, EU, UN, Russia) states Israel should return to 1967 borders and end illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Erekat shrugged off questions regarding US financial threats following the meeting with Hale and Ross. The Palestinian negotiator stated that “there is no contradiction between the peace process and the UN recognition of a Palestinian state. We have already been talking for more than 20 years. We are committed to submitting an application,”
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said in relation to Palestinian plans for September that ‘unilateral steps will require unilateral responses’.