JERUSALEM – While the U.S. is publically opposing the Palestinian Authority’s upcoming bid to the United Nations for a unilateral declaration of statehood, the PA has been using President Obama’s own words in its public relations campaign to garner support for the effort.
The PA sponsored a radio ad that uses audio from Obama’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly last year in which the president declared support for a Palestinian state.
“When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations, an independent, sovereign state of Palestine living in peace with Israel,” Obama is heard saying.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas then chimes in: “If [President Obama] said it, he must have meant it.”
The PA officially launched a campaign Sept. 1 for the recognition of a Palestinian state at the U.N. outside of the framework of a negotiated settlement with Israel.
Yesterday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated the Palestinian people are “long overdue” in their quest for an independent state.
“The two-state vision where Israel and Palestinians can live … side by side in peace and security – that is a still a valid vision, and I fully support it,” Ban told reporters.
“And I support also the statehood of Palestinians; an independent, sovereign state of Palestine. It has been long overdue,” Ban said.
He added that “recognition of a state is something to be determined by the member states.”
While international leaders have been vocal in their support of the PA’s statehood bid, the U.S. Senate in July passed a resolution threatening to suspend financial assistance to the PA if its leaders “persist in efforts to circumvent direct negotiations by turning to the United Nations or other international bodies.”
The resolution called for Obama to veto a U.N. vote on unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.
WND reported in April the Obama administration is concerned that support for a U.N. declaration of Palestinian statehood could have a negative impact on the president’s 2012 re-election bid, according to a top PA official.
The official told WND that the White House in April asked the PA to take its U.N. state request directly to the international body’s General Assembly, the only U.N. organ in which all member nations have equal representation, instead of to the Security Council, where the U.S. holds veto power.
Previously, PA officials stated the Obama administration would not veto a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a Palestinian state.
In 2009, Ahmed Qurei, former PA prime minister and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee, told WND in an interview that the PA “reached an understanding with important elements within the administration” to possibly bring to the U.N. Security Council a resolution to unilaterally create a Palestinian state.
Asked to which “elements” he was referring, Qurei would only say they were from the Obama administration.