UN Panel Takes Up Palestinian Membership Bid

Posted September 30th, 2011 at 2:50 pm (UTC-5)
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A U.N. Security Council committee met behind closed doors Friday to begin considering a Palestinian bid for membership.

The committee is in the assessment phase of determining whether the Palestinian request meets U.N. charter requirements, which include having a recognized government.

The panel agreed to meet again next week.

On Wednesday, the Security Council referred the Palestinians' request to the committee – the first formal step in the process.

The Palestinians are attempting to gain statehood recognition from the U.N. despite opposition from Israel and the U.S.

A U.N. committee decision is not likely for weeks, but analysts say the statehood bid is bound to fail, because the United States has threatened to use its veto power on the Security Council to block it.

Palestinians say they are acting unilaterally after peace talks with Israel broke down last year in a continuing dispute over Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Palestinians say the West Bank territory should be part of their future state.

The U.S. and other world powers have been urging the Palestinians and Israel to return to talks. Israel has said it is willing to resume negotiations, but the Palestinians say no talks can go forward unless Israel stops building new settlements.

The Middle East Quartet, which includes the U.S., EU, U.N. and Russia, also has proposed a resumption in negotiations between the two sides.