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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is beginning to feel international pressure to sign a peace agreement with Palestine before September. The US has been pressing Israel to reach an agreement. Ynetnews reports:
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted last week that the international community may apply pressure on both sides in order to promote a settlement to the longstanding conflict, which she said was as pressing as ever given recent developments in the Arab world.
“The status quo between Palestinians and Israelis is no more sustainable than the political systems that have crumbled in recent months,” Clinton said during a speech at the US-Islamic World Forum in Washington.
The Quartet on the Middle East, a consortium comprised of the UN, US, Russia and the EU established in 2002 to deal with conflict in the Middle East, has said it will recognise an independent Palestinian state if Netanyahu doesn’t come up with a peace plan, according to The Los Angeles Times. The consortium said the state would be based on 1967 borders and East Jerusalem would serve as its capital.
Meanwhile, Riyad Mansour, a Palestinian diplomat at the UN has said that a failure to reach a peace agreement in September would result in Palestine requesting independent UN membership. The US might veto such a decision. Even if that happened, the Palestinians would still have options.
…Mansour said, Palestine has been recognised as an independent state by 112 countries. Possible recognition by six others is being examined, he said, and “hopefully by September 2011 we will have 130, maybe 140 countries recognising the state of Palestine.”
That is important because UN membership not only requires a recommendation from the Security Council but approval by two-thirds of the General Assembly, or 128 countries.
“This is the end game,” Mansour said — the more countries the Palestinians have on their side, the more they can pursue independence, “whether in the Security Council or in the General Assembly or combined.”
If a U.S. veto looks certain in the Security Council, there’s the option of going before the General Assembly, where there is no veto but resolutions are nonbinding…
So far, Netanyahu’s response has been to accuse Palestinians of avoiding peace talks by approaching an international group instead of sitting down to talk with the Israelis. This stance is unlikely to make the international pressure abate.