NEWS
23/09/2011 08:18 BST | Updated 23/11/2011 05:12 GMT

Palestinian Statehood: Abbas To Submit Proposal To The UN

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, is due to submit his formal proposal to the United Nations calling for Palestinian statehood, in a bid that has already been deemed to fail.

His request, which seeks recognition based on the pre-1967 borders including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, is likely to be made before he addresses the General Assembly at UN headquarter in New York later on Friday.

In a sign of flaring tension in the region, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian in the West Bank on Friday, according to the Reuters news agency. Palestinians have been gathering in the city of Ramallah ahead of the UN vote on the issue.

However US President Barack Obama has already told Abbas that Washington will exercise its veto to block the proposed move.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, has also expressed his intention to foil the Palestinian bid and is expected to make an address to the General Assembly against the move.

According to a senior Palestinian official speaking to the AP news agency, the statehood requests an immediate consideration from the UN Security Council.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has urged a compromise on the bid, suggesting Palestinians be granted enhanced status to the UN as a non-member state to allow a clear timeline for talks.

"Why not envisage offering Palestine the status of United Nations observer state? This would be an important step forward," Sarkozy said.

"Most important, it would mean emerging from a state of immobility that favours only the extremists. We would be restoring hope by marking progress towards the final status."

The written request for statehood will be presented in writing to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

To be successful the request would first have to win approval of two-thirds of the 193-member General Assembly. The motion would then pass to the Security Council.

To pass, the bid would then require nine out of 15 members to approve, plus no vetoes from any of the permanent members.

The observer state status suggested by Sarkozy requires only a straight majority in the General Assembly and would not be subject to an American veto.

Tony Blair has criticised the Palestinian push for statehood at the UN as "deeply confrontational".

The Middle East envoy for the Quartet made up of the UN, the US, the EU, and Russia, was speaking to the BBC's World at One radio programme on Friday afternoon.

"You can pass whatever resolution you like at the United Nations or the Security Council, it doesn't actually deliver you a state on the ground in the West Bank and Gaza, and if you don't have a negotiation, whatever you do at the UN is going to be deeply confrontational," he said.