Israel says no to Sarkozy compromise on Palestinian state
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Israel on Friday has dismissed a proposal by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to upgrade the Palestinians' UN status and admit them as a non-member state. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the move was the same as granting them recognition as a Palestinian state.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to present a formal request to UN chief Ban Ki-moon for full UN membership on Friday in a move which has sparked a wave of opposition from both Israel and the United States.
Ahead of the request, Sarkozy proposed a compromise urging the world body to admit
Palestine as a non-member state, upgrading its status from that of an observer entity, without granting it full membership.
This would allow the Palestinians to become a full member of UN agencies such as the World Health Organisation, the child welfare agency Unicef and the Unesco world heritage body.
His compromise was welcomed by the Palestinians who promised that his ideas would be "studied in depth."
But Israeli cabinet secretary Tzvi Hauser also rejected the idea as premature.
"For Israel, the creation of a Palestinian state can only occur with the end of the conflict and the end to all claims," he said in an interview on army radio. "It is impossible that there would first be a Palestinian state and only from that will we be able to start negotiating."
Washington has vowed to block the Palestinian request to the Security Council which has sent international diplomats scrambling to find a compromise.
Under UN rules, any bid for full membership requires a recommendation from the Security Council and then a two-thirds majority in the 193-member General Assembly.
But upgrading the Palestinians' status to that of a non-member state would require only a straight majority in the General Assembly where no veto is possible.