WASHINGTON, (AFP) — The United States said that it disagreed with the Arab League after it said it would submit a request for recognition of a Palestinian state to the United Nations.
“We do not believe attempts to resolve final status issues in international bodies like the United Nations are able to bring about the enduring peace, which both the parties and the United States seek,” the State Department said in a written statement on Thursday.
“The Israelis and Palestinians must work out the differences between them in direct negotiations,” it said.
The Palestinians have been looking to seek statehood at the UN General Assembly in September amid a long stalemate in negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
After talks in Qatar, the Arab League’s Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi said that the bloc was ready to submit a recognition request, despite worries by the United States and some European States that a UN bid would lead to intensified conflict with Israel.
The so-called Quartet on Middle East peace — the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia — met on Monday in Washington but came up with little visible progress.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner insisted that the United States was moving “aggressively” on seeking peace in the Middle East and said that the Quartet held a follow-up conference call on Thursday at the level of envoys.
President Barack Obama has called for Israel and the Palestinians to agree on borders based on lines before the 1967 Six Day War — when Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem — with mutually agreed land swaps.
Netanyahu has called the 1967 borders “indefensible,” insisting there could not be a peace agreement unless the Palestinians first recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.”