Palestinian Initiatives for 2011 at the United Nations [September 23, 2011]   [open pdf - 407KB]

"Many Members of Congress are actively interested in the question of possible U.N. action on Palestinian statehood. Congress could try to influence U.S. policy and the choices of other actors through the authorization and appropriation of foreign assistance to the Palestinians, the United Nations, and Israel and through oversight of the Obama Administration's diplomatic efforts. Changes to aid levels may depend on congressional views of how maintaining or changing aid levels could affect U.S. leverage and credibility in future regional and global contexts. Officials from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Palestinian Authority (PA) are taking action in the United Nations aimed at solidifying international support for Palestinian statehood. On September 23, 2011, at the opening of the annual session of the General Assembly, PLO Chairman and PA President Mahmoud Abbas submitted an application for Palestinian state membership to the U.N. Secretary-General--on the basis of the armistice lines that prevailed before the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 (the '1967 borders')--in order to bring about a Security Council vote on whether to recommend membership. […] Although Abbas maintains that he seeks an eventual return to U.S.-backed Israel-PLO negotiations on a more equal basis, an upgrade of the Palestinians' status at the U.N. also could facilitate subsequent efforts to apply greater pressure on Israel, especially if the PLO gains greater ability to present grievances in international courts--such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or International Criminal Court (ICC). Whether U.N. action or its aftermath would make Israel more or less willing to offer concessions in a negotiating process remains unclear, especially in light of ongoing regional political change and the volatility and possible deterioration of Israel's political and military relationships with Egypt and Turkey."

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CRS Report for Congress, R42022
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