WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration said unequivocally that it would veto any U.N. Security Council resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood.
"If any such resolution were put in front of the Security Council, then we would veto it," Wendy Sherman told the Senate on Wednesday in confirmation hearings for her nomination to become undersecretary of state for policy, the department’s third-ranking position.
Until now the Obama administration has said it strongly opposes Palestinian efforts to secure statehood recognition this month at the United Nations, but Sherman’s was the first indication it would definitively use its veto to quash the bid.
Sherman said the threat of the Palestinians taking the matter to the General Assembly for a symbolic but politically potent vote still loomed, and that the United States was still working to push the parties back to the table for talks.
"The General Assembly is still of concern, and so there is very urgent work going on to try to see if there’s not another way forward," she said.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority is using a year-old qualified statement by President Obama in a campaign for support for its statehood bid.
"When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that can lead to a new member of the United Nations, an independent, sovereign state of Palestine living in peace with Israel," Obama says in a 2010 speech to the United Nations quoted in an ad playing on Palestinian radio stations, according to Reuters.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas follows by saying: "If he said it, he must have meant it."
Talks seeking the "agreement" Obama referred to collapsed soon after he delivered his speech.