Palestine set to move ahead with statehood bid against Biden's wishes: reports

The UN Security Council is set to vote Friday on whether to recognize the Palestinian Territories as an official state under international law.
The United Nations Building is seen on the East Side of Manhattan on October 07, 2020 in New York City.

The Palestinian Authority has reportedly spurned President Biden's attempt to prevent the group from seeking official recognition by the United Nations Security Council, which would grant it official statehood under international law. 

On Monday, Just the News reported the Palestinian Authority submitted a bid for formal membership to the council amid signals by some Western countries that they were softening towards official recognition. However, the Biden administration—despite reiterating its support for a "two state" solution publicly—urged the Palestinians not to move forward with the bid until after a negotiated settlement with Israel is achieved and the Gaza war comes to an end.

But on Wednesday, President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, rejected the Biden Administration's requests and intends to move forward with its bid for formal statehood, Axios reported. 

The council is scheduled to vote on the measure Friday afternoon on a draft resolution granting membership to Palestine, according to Reuters

Both U.S. and Israeli officials said the Biden administration is trying to prevent the Palestinian Authority from garnering nine votes in the Security Council–the requisite number for passage–to avoid casting a veto. According to the rules of the U.N., the United States is one of five major powers that posses veto power on the Security Council, meaning its disapproval alone can sink the measure. 

Administration officials may be especially concerned about casting a veto because of domestic political concerns. One former Trump national security official told Just the News last month he believes President Biden is navigating a potentially perilous domestic backlash to foreign policies unpopular with his base that could endanger his reelection campaign. 

The Biden camp is particularly concerned over alienating reliable Democratic Muslim voters in key swing states such as Michigan, with a dense Arab population. Indeed, many of these voters are angry with Biden over what they perceive an abandonment of the Palestinians amid Israel's war in Gaza, Just the News reported last month.

Leaked diplomatic cables reportedly show the Biden administration's efforts to thread this needle. 

"It remains the U.S. view that the most expeditious path toward a political horizon for the Palestinian people is in the context of a normalization agreement between Israel and its neighbors. We believe this approach can tangibly advance Palestinian goals in a meaningful and enduring way," one leaked cable, obtained by The Intercept, reads. 

"We therefore urge you not to support any potential Security Council resolution recommending the admission of ‘Palestine’ as a U.N. member state, should such a resolution be presented to the Security Council for a decision in the coming days and weeks.”

One Palestinian official blamed the U.S. for failing to provide a an alternative to UN recognition. 

"We wanted the U.S. to provide a substantive alternative to UN recognition. They didn't. We believe full membership in the UN for Palestine is way overdue. We have waited more than 12 years since our initial request," the Palestinian official said, according to Axios