Former US President Jimmy Carter has called on the current American administration not to veto a UN Security Council vote for Palestinian statehood expected to take place next week.
"If I were president, I’d be very glad to see the Palestinians have a nation recognized by the United Nations," Carter said in a Sunday interview with the US-based National Public Radio (NPR).
Carter emphasized that "there’s no downside to it."
The former American president admitted that if President Barack Obama resisted Tel Aviv’s pressure and did not veto Palestinian statehood bid at the UN, the powerful Israeli lobby in the US would punish Obama. “But I think it’s a price worth paying,” he underlined.
Carter said that today, Palestinian statehood should be a basic moral commitment for the United States.
He went on to say that in light of the breakdown of US-mediated peace negotiations, the American influence among the Palestinians and inside Israel is at the lowest point it’s been in the past 60 years.
Carter’s plea has come as acting Palestinian Authority (PA) Chief Mahmud Abbas heads to New York to submit a formal bid for UN membership for a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders at the annual gathering of world leaders at the UN General Assembly, which begins on September 20.
PA says that more than 130 countries would recognize the state of Palestine, which is more than the two-thirds majority required in the 193-member UN General Assembly.
However, the Palestinians would first have to submit an application to the UN Security Council, whose approval is required for full membership, despite a US threat to veto the move. Then they will seek recognition short of a member status at the General Assembly.