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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So does the UN support a unilaterally declared Palestinian Arab state?

Yesterday, the Jerusalem Post seems to have been the first to report:
UN Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Negotiations Robert H. Serry expressed the UN's support for the declaration of an independent Palestinian state to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad while the two picked olives together on Tuesday near the West Bank village of Turmus'ayyeh, close to the Israeli settlement of Shiloh.

"All international players are now in agreement that the Palestinians are ready for statehood at any point in the near future," said Perry [sic]. He continued, "We are in the homestretch of your [Fayyad's] agenda to reach that point by August next year and you have our full support."
A few hours later, a reporter asked the UN spokesperson about this in their daily briefing:
Question: Robert Serry said yesterday to Salam Fayyad that the UN would support a declaration of the Palestinian State this… next summer… actually, next August.

Spokesperson: Said to whom?

Question: Said to Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority. The 1995 Oslo Accords, for which the UN is sponsored, from which participation in the Quartet says that any such declaration should be a result of negotiation. The question is, does Serry… does the Secretary-General believe that Serry’s sentiment also supports a unilateral declaration of statehood or through the UN without consulting Israel, which is the current path on which the Palestinians are going?

Spokesperson: Well, Benny, let me check with Robert Serry’s office on exactly what was said. Okay, thanks. Okay, thank you very much. Thank you. [He later informed the correspondent that Robert Serry had been quoted inaccurately, and that the paper writing about him had revised its story.]
As far as I can tell, the Jerusalem Post has not revised anything from what I just quoted above.

So what really happened?