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By William Pfaff
Palestinian Ambassador Maen Areikat has called on the Obama administration to stop coddling
Israel and vote for
While the expected U.S. veto will kill formal U.N. recognition, Palestine is still planning on taking its case to the U.N. General assembly which is likely to overwhelmingly approve "non-member state" status to Israel's neighbor and foe.
In an impassioned plea to the
What's more, while he predicted that a U.S. veto of full nation status would result in peaceful demonstrations throughout Palestine, it would hurt U.S. relations with Arab and Muslim nations at a time when Washington is still trying to sustain support for its war on terrorism.
Areikat said that a veto would have consequences "with the Arabs and Muslim people."
The ambassador met with reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. He repeatedly made the case that Palestine's bid for recognition was legal and the next step in its long and trouble history. "We are not doing something against the law," he said.
Then he added: "I don't know what the big issue is."
The U.S. ambassador to
Areikat said that he wasn't surprised by that reaction, noting that when support for Israel is discussed in Washington, "everybody seems to agree."
But, he said, Israel is stubborn and the United States is not using its leverage to force Jerusalem back to the table. "We want to engage in negotiations," he said. "We are not at war with Israel."
Yet without U.S. pressure, said Areikat, Israel won't move away from its opposition to U.N. recognition of Palestine. "Israel has no reason to move forward because they are in a comfortable position," he said.
Available at Amazon.com:
Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America's Wars in the Muslim World
Displacement and Dispossession in the Modern Middle East (The Contemporary Middle East)
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