The high-level meetings of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly have opened in New York and one of the biggest issues surrounding the General Assembly meetings is Palestine's planned application to become a U.N. member state, a move the U.S. and its allies staunchly oppose.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has vowed to push for U.N. membership and the Palestinians have pledged to submit their request for full statehood on Friday, Sept. 22.
Palestine's plan to submit its application on Friday would require two-thirds of U.N. members to vote in favor of its request, but that would only be the beginning of the process, as the 15-nation Security Council would also be required to vote.
To be successful in their bid for statehood recognition, the Palestinians would need to secure nine votes in favor of the resolution and avoid any vetoes from the five permanent members in order to pass.
However, the likelihood of Palestine's bid to actually pass through the Security Council with no vetoes is slim.
The U.S., Russia, China, France and the U.K. all hold permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council, and President Barack Obama has made it clear that he will veto any resolution recommending U.N. membership to Palestine.
U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said after Obama met with Abbas on Wednesday, "We would have to oppose any action at the U.N. Security Council including, if necessary, vetoing."
Instead, President Obama continues to urge a diplomatically negotiated two-state solution where Israel and Palestine can live "side by side in peace," a plan not very popular among pro-Israel groups.
President Obama spoke at during the General Assembly meeting Wednesday and said of the situation, "I am convinced that there is no short-cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades, peace is hard work, peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations, if it were that easy it would have been accomplished by now."
French President Nicholas Sarkozy also urged the world to find a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process on Wednesday, proposing a yearlong timetable for Israel and Palestinians to reach a peace accord.
This push on behalf of Sarkozy is a way to steer Palestinians away from Friday’s application for U.N. membership, according to political commentators.
Sarkozy urged using diplomatic measures saying, "Let us choose a path of compromise, which is neither a renunciation nor a repudiation, but which allows us to move forward, step by step, stage by stage."
Nevertheless, Palestinian officials plan to move forward with the application for membership and suggest that they will seek to cooperate with the U.S. and are willing to return to the negotiating table once a solid foundation for talks was available.