Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will come before the U.N. General Assembly on Friday to seek recognition that will lead to Palestinian statehood.
Palestinians say they are seeking U.N. recognition after years of negotiations with Israel failed to deliver an independent state.
It is not clear if Mr. Abbas will seek U.N. Security Council approval of U.N. member status for an independent Palestine, or instead seek “non-member status” within the world body.
The mechanism for recognizing statehood at the United Nations is specific.
First, a resolution declaring a State of Palestine as a full U.N. member is introduced. Then the resolution is sent to the Security Council, which studies it and takes a vote on sending the measure to the full General Assembly. It takes two thirds of the U.N.'s membership to approve voting-state status.
Achieving non-member status requires only a simple majority vote in the 193-member General Assembly. Palestinians currently hold observer status at the world body.
Non-voting UN membership would provide Palestinians with a status upgrade that would allow them to petition U.N. committees and entities such as the International Court of Justice.
WHY THE PALESTINIAN BID
President Abbas backed out of U.S.-led peace talks last year in protest against Israel's decision to end a freeze in settlement building on land the Palestinians want for a future state. Palestinians say because the peace process has failed, they will unilaterally seek to establish a state. Mr. Abbas said the Palestinians are the only people in the world who remain under occupation.
WHY THE ISRAELIS OPPOSE THE MOVE
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the Palestinians' plan to seek statehood recognition at the United Nations is “futile,” and that only direct negotiations can lead to a peace agreement.
Mr. Netanyahu has accused the Palestinians of “consistently evading” negotiations. He called on the Palestinian Authority “to abandon unilateral steps” and said it would then “find Israel to be a genuine partner” for peace.
Israel leaders say that by bypassing talks and going to the U.N., the Palestinians are violating previous agreements, and that could result in Israeli sanctions.
WHY THE U.S. PROMISES TO VETO
The Obama administration opposes the Palestinian move and says it will not help to bring Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table. President Obama has called the proposal a “distraction” to attaining Mideast peace that he says can only be addressed through negotiations.
The U.S., one of five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council, says it will veto a Palestinian membership bid in the Council if it comes to a vote.