Palestinians, the UN and the quest for statehood

By Harry Hagopian
September 20, 2011

Palestinian authorities are bidding to gain international recognition of Statehood at the United Nations in New York. The US favours direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine and has already expressed serious reservations with Secretary of State Clinton saying "the route [to peace] lies in Jerusalem and Ramallah not in New York".

In a special Middle East Analysis 17-minute interview with James Abbot of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, I look ahead to the upcoming decision.

Despite the media focus on a possible US veto, there is another way to block this initiative at the United Nations Security Council. That is by making sure that it does not get the nine out of fifteen votes of the members. If the Americans and some of the Europeans ensure that the application does not have nine supportng votes out of the fifteen at the Security Council, then it no longer needs an American veto because it will have already been scuppered.

When it comes to achieving a peaceful solution for Israel and Palestine, the real action may take place around a different table to those at the UN. The Palestinian leadership appear to be upping the ante - applying pressure - but they would probably be willing to change their minds if the United Nations, Russia, the European Union and the US were to come out with a credible, practical, feasible roadmap to force the Israeli hand into negotiating for a settlement.

You can listen to the full broadcast here:

© Harry Hagopian is an international lawyer, ecumenist and EU political consultant. He also acts as a Middle East and inter-faith advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales and as Middle East consultant to ACEP (Christians in Politics) in Paris. He is an Ekklesia associate and regular contributor ( Formerly an Executive Secretary of the Jerusalem Inter-Church Committee and Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches, he is consultant to the Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (UK) and author of The Armenian Church in the Holy Land. Dr Hagopian’s own website is

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