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Security Council Takes up Issue of Palestinian Statehood; No Vote Set

The United Nations Security Council begins discussing the Palestinian bid for statehood and UN membership on Monday. No date has been set for a vote on the issue, and the first discussions are deemed "informal consultations." Palestinian leadership had originally hoped to by-pass the Security Council by bringing its request to the General Assembly where the Palestinian Authority has much support and there is no veto to contend with. But it was later realized that UN rules require that statehood issues begin with an enabling resolution passed by the Security Council where President Barack Obama has promised to veto any measure that supports the Palestinian request. American diplomats have been working feverishly to convince Security Council members to support the US position in hope that the resolution will fail to garner nine votes and not require the US to cast its veto. It is not known when the matter will come to a vote. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud ‘Abbas has asked that the body not take more than two weeks to come to a decision. Informal consultations are not binding and take place behind closed doors. On Sunday, ‘Abbas rejected the proposal put forth by the Quartet (US; UN; EU; Russia) to jumpstart negotiations with Israel when he told a crowd assembled in Ramallah to welcome him back from the United Nations that he will not talk until Israel freezes all building in post-1967 areas. The Quartet bid offered ‘Abbas a key element he has been demanding by setting a one-year timetable for reaching an agreement.