Nuland would not say whether the United States has swayed any other nations. “We’re going to oppose it because we think that it’s the wrong move,” she said. “We think it makes other steps that might improve the lives of Palestinians and Israelis harder. Other countries will make their own decision.”
She would not address reports in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the United States and Israel are meeting secretly this week to discuss ways to blunt the effect of the vote. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly had wanted the Obama administration to head off the U.N. action.
More than a year ago, a Palestinian bid to gain recognition as a U.N. member state faltered in the face of U.S. opposition within the Security Council.
The draft resolution to be put for a vote Thursday “decides to accord to Palestine Non-member Observer State status in the United Nations.”
Although the vote would not confer the status of a full-fledged member, it could pave the way for admission in other international organizations, including the International Criminal Court, that do not require parties to be full-fledged members of the United Nations.
Mansour said that the Palestinians don’t have an immediate plan to pursue international prosecution of Israelis but that they want to keep the option open.
“I don’t believe that we are going to be rushing the second day to join everything related to the United Nations, including the ICC,” he told reporters. “But, at the same time, it is not fair for us to tie our own hands [against] all the possibilities that could be available to us.”
In January 2009, the Palestinians appealed to the Hague-based criminal court to open an investigation into Israeli conduct during a three-week operation in the Gaza Strip that began in December 2008. Earlier this year, the court’s then-prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said he lacked the authority to rule on the decision.
Britain, France and other European powers have privately sought to persuade the Palestinians to include language in the resolution explicitly ruling out any intention to pursue war-crimes prosecutions against Israeli troops.
Gearan reported from Washington.