On Sunday, US President Obama urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas not to follow through with plans to seek a status upgrade to nonmember state in the United Nations General Assembly, Middle East Monitor reports.
The United States has asked the Palestinian Authority to abandon what it describes as “unilateral” action in the UN and instead return to direct negotiations with no preconditions with Israel. President Abbas, however, argues that direct negotiations are ineffective as long as Israeli settlements continue to spread rapidly throughout the occupied West Bank.
As recently as last week Israeli legislators approved a plan to construct an additional 800 homes in the Gilo settlement of East Jerusalem, deep inside territory recognized as illegally occupied under international law and which Palestinians view as the capital of their future state.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has also called on Abbas to return to negotiations and cease efforts to gain recognition in the UN.
Last week, Israel threatened to block all international funding to the Palestinian Authority if they act in the UN. On Wednesday, Ha’aretzreported that Israel is considering partially or completely cancelling the Oslo Accords if the UN approves the upgrade.
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