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News, August 2011

 
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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.

 

US Consul-General in Jerusalem, Daniel Rubinstein, Threatens Palestinians with Punitive Measures If They Seek UN Membership, Says Erekat


US diplomat threatens to cut PA funds

Press TV, Aug 27, 2011 4:33AM

US Consul General in al-Qods Jerusalem Daniel Rubinstein A senior US diplomat has warned that the United States would cut financial aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it pursues a statehood vote at the United Nations next month.

"In case the Palestinian Authority seeks to upgrade its position at the UN through the General Assembly, the US Congress will take punitive measures against it, including a cut in US aid," said the US Consul General in (al-Qods) Jerusalem Daniel Rubinstein, Al Jazeera reported.

Rubinstein went on to say that any resolution on the statehood of Palestine referred to the Security Council by the UN General Assembly will be vetoed by the United States.

Several members of US Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, have already threatened to cut off American funds to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority if it seeks to win the UN recognition of an independent Palestinian statehood.

Acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas plans to attend a UN General Assembly meeting next month to upgrade the Palestinian status to an independent state and gain full UN membership for the country.

Palestinians have been campaigning to acquire the UN recognition for an independent state that encompasses the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and illegally annexed East al-Quds -- the territories the Israeli regime captured and annexed in its Six-Day War of 1967.

Over 100 countries have already endorsed the 1988 Palestinian declaration of independent statehood.

UN membership requires a recommendation from the Security Council and a two-thirds approval of the world body's General Assembly, or 128 countries.

PG/MB/HRF

Consulate: US envoy did not threaten aid to PA

Published yesterday (updated) 27/08/2011 00:00

 RAMALLAH (Ma'an) --

The US Consulate in Jerusalem denied Friday that its top envoy had warned the Palestinian Authority of "punitive measures" if the Palestinians sought membership in the United Nations.

The office of PLO official Saeb Erekat quoted consul-general Daniel Rubinstein as saying the US Congress would take punitive measures, "including cutting US aid," if the Palestinians tried to upgrade their position at the UN.

But the consulate's deputy spokesperson Arlissa Reynolds said Erekat's account of the meeting in Jericho was "not an accurate portrayal of the US position," nor did Rubinstein make the comments attributed to him.

Reynolds said the US position was to encourage a return to negotiations with Israel. The US opposes initiatives by the Palestinians through the United Nations, she told Ma'an.

"President Obama laid out goals and principles for negotiations and our intention is to continue to work with the parties on that basis. Itís the only realistic way forward for both parties to achieve their goals," she said.

"As President Obama has made clear, initiatives through the UN will not bring about the two-state solution and enduring peace, which both the parties and the US seek," the spokeswoman added.

"Therefore, we continue to oppose initiatives by the Palestinians in the UN. There is no substitute for serious and substantive negotiations between the parties, and that remains our focus."

Erekat's statement had quoted Rubinstein as saying the US would use its veto if the PA went to the Security Council, while the US Congress "will take punitive measures against it, including cutting US aid."

The statement also said Erekat urged the Americans to change their position on the issue because "the right decision is to support Palestine's membership of the UN," the German Press Agency reported.

DPA said Erekat, who had also met with the EU representative to the Palestinian Authority, Christian Burger, also urged Europe to support Palestinian efforts to get full membership of the UN.

The EU, he said, "should take the correct position, not the easy position."



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