NPR logo

Israel Says Palestinian Statehood Bid Would End Talks

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/135539894/135594300" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Israel Says Palestinian Statehood Bid Would End Talks

Middle East

Israel Says Palestinian Statehood Bid Would End Talks

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/135539894/135594300" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

MARY LOUISE KELLY, Host:

In Israel, there is a talk of a diplomatic tsunami coming. It would come in the form of a United Nations resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood. Such a move could set borders for a Palestinian state on territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war.

Israeli officials say that dealing with the conflict at the U.N. would undermine the peace process, though there's very little left of the peace process these days. Sheera Frenkel reports on how the Palestinians are pushing their cause by taking a page from Israeli history.

SHEERA FRENKEL: This video stream of an E.U. press conference in Brussels was closely monitored at Israel's government offices in Jerusalem. Catherine Ashton, the E.U.'s high representative, was speaking about a report that shows ways in which the Palestinians have made progress towards statehood.

LOUISE KELLY: The Palestinian Authority has made significant progress. Today, Palestinian institutions compare favorably with those in established states.

FRENKEL: Over the past month, there's been a flood of reports drawing the same conclusion. In Israel, these reports make many people nervous. They increase the chances that this coming September, the Palestinians will succeed in their bid to win formal U.N. recognition of statehood.

Danny Ayalon is Israel's deputy foreign minister. He repeatedly uses the word unfortunate when he talks about the Palestinians' decision to take the issue to the U.N.

LOUISE KELLY: I think that their unilateral approach is very unfortunate. I don't think it is a service for the national interests of the Palestinians.

FRENKEL: Ayalon expresses the view of many in the Israel government when he says that the declaration of a Palestinian state by the U.N. would harm peace efforts.

Palestinian officials haven't announced the wording of the resolution they intend to submit to the General Assembly, but they have publically hinted that they will call for recognition of 1967 borders. That would include all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where Israel currently has some 500,000 settlers.

Palestinians say those communities are illegal, and should be evacuated under international law. Israel says they're part of greater Israel, and hopes that many will remain under a peace deal.

But Ayalon argues that by taking the vote to the U.N. the Palestinians will put an end to the decades-long peace process.

LOUISE KELLY: A unilateral approach, and certainly, their formal request of the United Nations, will mean the end of the peace process. I think it will be a blow to the international community's efforts, to the Quartet, to the American leadership. I believe it will also further destabilize the situation.

FRENKEL: But Palestinian officials argue that a vote by the U.N. will help rather than hinder peace talks.

LOUISE KELLY: I believe that negotiating in that status would be much more fruitful than the situation we are in right now. But when two states negotiate there would be more equality in addressing the issues.

FRENKEL: That's Dimitri Diliani, a Palestinian council member who's involved in preparing the resolution for the U.N. He says a similar General Assembly resolution recognized Israeli statehood in 1947.

LOUISE KELLY: Israel used similar process. The State of Palestine is, by any means, necessary. And I believe that there is nothing wrong to learn from our adversaries. They were good at something? We'll learn from them.

FRENKEL: But he acknowledges that U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state won't necessarily mean peace.

For NPR News, I'm Sheera Frenkel in Jerusalem.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LOUISE KELLY: This is NPR News.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.