US and Palestine Headed for Showdown Over UN Application for Statehood?

As Palestinians officially kick off their bid for statehood recognition by the United Nations, a Jewish interest group is calling on President Barack Obama to stand firm with Israel and reverse his so-called “anti-Israel” stance.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said his group is determined to submit an application to the U.N. for recognition as a state, with the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem included as territories.

"It is our legitimate right to demand the full membership of the state of Palestine in the U.N.," Abbas said last Friday when announcing the Palestinian Authority's intentions.

Abbas added that U.N. recognition would help Palestinians "put an end to a historical injustice" and "[attain] liberty and independence, like the other peoples of the earth, in a Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, 1967."

The application requesting full U.N. membership has been rebuffed by the United States, Israel, and certain European Union (EU) leaders involved in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Leaders have called on Abbas to reconsider his actions, which will undoubtedly add tension to the currently stalled peace talks.

President Obama's administration has vowed to use its vote during the U.N. Security Council this Friday in New York to veto the Palestinians' statehood recognition request.

The Palestinians' open and aggressive push for statehood recognition by the U.N., a move Abbas insists is aimed at relieving the Palestinian people of Israeli occupation, puts the Obama administration in the spotlight of certain Israeli interest groups.

In an ad placed in the New York Times Monday, the Emergency Committee for Israel claims that President Obama "has built a record that is not pro-Israel" since he has taken office.

The group claims Obama has told Jews they cannot build in Jerusalem, has criticized Israel at the U.N., and has pressured Israel to apologize to terrorists. Finally, Obama seeks the division of Jerusalem, the Emergency Committee for Israel claims.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, hoping to nab the Republican presidential nomination for 2012, spoke out in support of Israel during a press conference Tuesday morning.

Echoing the Emergency Committee for Israel, Perry called Obama's policy toward Israel "naive, misguided, and dangerous."

"Israel is our oldest and strongest ally, our democratic ally in the Middle East," Perry said. "There is no middle ground between our allies and those who seek their destruction"

The presidential hopeful claimed that the concept of "moral equivalency" between Israel and Palestinians is "dangerous."

The Liberty Institute, a nonprofit litigation group dedicated to advancing religious freedom and other issues, issued a statement Tuesday, calling on elected officials and all Americans to express solidarity with Israel.

In a press release published on its website, the Liberty Institute claims that if Obama and fellow peace mediators demand that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders, the Jewish state would face "complete destruction."

The organization has also put out a "Stand with Israel" petition and claims "tens of thousands of Americans" have signed the petition, which "acknowledge[s] Jerusalem as Israel's God-ordained, undivided capital."

Meanwhile, Abbas, who is already in New York along with other diplomatic leaders, has been seeking to rally support for his statehood bid, and has scheduled meetings with French President Nicholas Sarkozy and Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, AP has reported.

Representatives from the U.S., the U.N., the E.U. and Russia, working under the banner of the Quartet of Mideast mediators, also plan to hold talks Tuesday to prepare for a possible showdown over the Palestinian statehood issue, the AP reports. The quartet aims to devise a way of wooing the Palestinians to drop their bid by offering certain concessions to please both Abbas' group and the Israelis.

According to the AP, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was also seeking to hold talks with Abbas at the U.N.

Abbas must deliver his letter of application to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will review the document before passing it on to the U.N. Security Council. If the Security Council approves the Palestinians' application, a vote would then be required in the General Assembly.

It could take U.N. members weeks or months to decide on Abbas' application. If U.N. members happen to decide in his favor, the Palestinian president knows being recognized as a member nation of the U.N. would not solve his people's problems overnight.

"We are not going to bring independence," Abbas said last Friday during a televised statement to the Palestinian public. "Let's not exaggerate. We will continue to negotiate."

Either way, Abbas has said that he will not be moved by the "tremendous pressure" he has been facing to drop his application for Palestinian statehood.

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