New tactic? PA ambassador wants to ‘save the two-state solution’ through UN

Riyad Mansour says full member status could “save the two-state solution.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Palestinian Authority (PA) intends to ask the UN to grant it full member status as a way to “save the two-state solution,” its UN ambassador told the Times of Israel in an interview published Wednesday.

The impetus for the idea, Riyad Mansour said, is that “maybe it will help Israel by waking up its leaders to hold negotiations.”

He says he’s certain that a vast majority in the international body would be in favor of the proposal.

“There will be close to 180 countries, if not more, that will be happy to accept admitting us as a full member state,” Mansour said.

The ambassador also claimed that several members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) who have been “frustrated by the deadlock” on the ground have reacted “excitedly” to the idea.

“They see this as an initiative that could create a new, positive dynamic,” he said.

To be a binding resolution rather than just a declarative one, the initiative has to pass in the smaller body – where the United States has veto power. Mansour acknowledged that the most formidable obstacle that stands in the way is the longstanding American opposition to such a move.

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The U.S. blocked the PA from applying to the Security Council in 2011, the last time it made a serious push for full membership.

A State Department spokesperson told TOI that this is the position of the Biden administration as well, even though it remains “committed” to the two-state solution.

“The only realistic path to a comprehensive and lasting peace that ends this conflict permanently is through direct negotiations between the parties,” the spokesperson said. “There are no shortcuts.”

The only other permanent non-member observer state is the Vatican, which accepted this status in 1964 so that it could participate in the UN’s humanitarian activities and in the promotion of peace.

Mansour would not say when exactly the PA would bring the plan to the UNSC, only that he would do so “whenever we feel that the situation is ripe.”

American officials at the UN told him they were taking a close look at the request, he added, and that President Biden “did not say ‘no’ outright” when PA President Mahmoud Abbas raised the idea at their meeting in July.