NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There were frantic efforts at the United Nations on Tuesday to avoid a Friday face-off over Palestinian statehood.
With the clock ticking toward a showdown, Israel floated the possibility of an “interim solution” to allow the Palestinians to establish a state within existing borders in Gaza and the West Bank and deal with all the tough stuff later, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
“This is one possible solution whereby we, the situation they get independence and we can continue and negotiate in the future, but with less acrimony and less mistrust and as we continue to build a future together,” Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said.
Under that scenario the Israelis and Palestinians would still have to negotiate solutions to the difficult issues of final borders, the status of Jerusalem, the right of Palestinian refugees to return and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
“If we can’t come to a perfect solution at this point we should discuss other things,” Ayalon said.
The proposal comes as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pressed ahead with his campaign for statehood. He intends to speak at the UN on Friday and demand that the Security Council grant the Palestinians statehood status immediately.
That could force the United States to veto the proposal, a political headache for President Barack Obama, who could also face a move in Congress to shut off $500 million in American aid to the Palestinians.
The situation is so volatile Obama has added a meeting with Abbas to his schedule for Wednesday. Obama will also be meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after delivering his main address to the General Assembly.
Meanwhile, the interim solution idea was not well received in the Palestinian community.
“I think the Palestinians have relied on the moderation of the U.S. for over 40 years to no avail. I think they’ve heard this before. It’s the boy who cried wolf,” said CAIR New York President Zead Ramadan.
“I think the Palestinians don’t believe any more that the Americans can actually moderate this conversation and they want to take it to a different forum.”
Meanwhile, the Palestinian president pressed his case with the president of France. And he picked up support from the president of Venezuela, who circulated a letter saying that recognizing Palestinian statehood would be “an act of historic justice.”
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