At lower levels, U.S., European and Middle Eastern officials searched for ways Tuesday to either head off the Palestinian bid or soften its impact.
One diplomatic track was aimed at preventing, or at least delaying, Abbas’s statehood request, a goal seen as increasingly unlikely. Another approach sought to create a formula for restarting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations regardless of what happens with the statehood bid, Western diplomats said.
The statehood bid hasn't even happened yet and tensions in the West Bank are rising. The fear is that neither the Israelis nor Palestinian authorities can keep confrontations from escalating out of control. (Sept. 21)
President Barack Obama promised the Libyan people that the world will stand with them as they reshape their country following the fall of Moammar Gaddafi's regime. (Sept. 20)
Abbas appears determined to submit the Palestinian membership application to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday. But diplomats note that ensuing diplomatic maneuvering within the Security Council could delay a vote on the proposal for days, weeks or longer.
Obama plans to meet separately Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas.
Obama’s U.N. address last year came a few weeks after he inaugurated a new round of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and there was a measure of optimism surrounding his remarks.
Netanyahu had agreed to a temporary freeze of the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Shortly after Obama’s address, the settlement moratorium lapsed, and Netanyahu did not renew it. The direct negotiations soon collapsed, and Abbas’s decision to push for U.N. recognition during this General Assembly session gained momentum in the ensuing months.
With his domestic approval rating at a low point, Obama has little political room to maneuver on a polarizing foreign policy issue, particularly for American Jews.
But a plurality of Americans say the United States should recognize Palestine as an independent state, even as public sympathies continue to lie with Israel in the conflict, according to a new poll by The Washington Post and the Pew Research Center.
About a third of all those surveyed expressed no opinion about whether the United States should recognize a Palestinian state, and nearly four in 10 did not offer an assessment of Obama’s policies toward Israel and the Palestinians.
Of those expressing an opinion, 42 percent said they back U.S. recognition of a Palestinian state; 26 percent oppose such a move.
Polling director Jon Cohen and staff writers Philip Rucker and Joby Warrick in Washington contributed to this report.