UN review panel mulls Palestinian statehood bid

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UN review panel mulls Palestinian statehood bid

UN review panel mulls Palestinian statehood bid
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The UN Security Council has handed the Palestinian bid for full membership of the world body to a review panel, which will deliver its verdict within the coming weeks.

The Palestinians currently have observer status but want to be recognised as a member state.

Security Council resolutions need nine votes in favour and no vetoes to pass.

The United States, as one of the permanent five veto-wielding members, has said it will block the bid.

Enhanced observer status could be an interim option that would allow the Palestinians to join UN agencies.

“We are not going to wait for all eternity. It’s clear if we have the feeling that they are trying to win time by making us wait, then we have the option of going to the General Assembly where we already have a majority,” Leila Shahid, the Palestinian Authority’s general delegate to the EU, told euronews in an interview.

Amid the row over the Palestinian bid for statehood, Israel has just approved the construction of 1,100 houses in East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians see the eastern part of the city as the capital of a future state and say it is an illegal land grab.

Israel says the new houses in Gilo do not amount to settlement activity.

The move has drawn a rebuke from the international community, including Russia, China and the United States.

“We believe that this announcement by the government of Israel approving the construction of (1,100) housing units in East Jerusalem is counterproductive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties,” Hillary Clinton told reporters in Washington.

The US Secretary of State was speaking alongside Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Portas, whose country is one of the 15 UN Security Council members.

Portas called for renewed talks on the basis of parameters laid down last week by the “quartet” of mediators.

“When you have a real chance (for) negotiations, you avoid hostile measures to negotiations,” Portas said. “The settlement decision is not a good one.”