Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby on Sunday suggested Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reconsider his appeal to the U.N. to recognize an independent Palestinian state in September.
"The unilateral appeal to the U.N. Security Council and U.N. General Assembly could be a very dangerous move for the Palestinians during this period and I propose that Abbas reconsider the handling of the matter," Elaraby said.
Elaraby said the U.N. bid could be ill-timed because the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank is not in control of the situation in Gaza in the wake of a violent escalation with Israel in recent days.
Elaraby's comments come as Abbas prepares for the bid, expected to be brought before the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 21, by touring across Europe and elsewhere to raise international support.
Spain's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trinidad Jimenez, on Sunday said she hoped to use a Sept. 2 meeting of EU foreign ministers to drum up support for the Palestinian bid among Europe's leaders.
Palestinian sources told Israel Hayom on Thursday that Abbas intends to use his most recent trip to Europe to clarify France and Britain’s stance on the U.N. bid and to determine whether or not he will receive their support.
France and England have both expressed doubts with respect to the PA’s intention to unilaterally declare a state, although they have yet to set an official position. The U.S. has also cautioned the PA against the move, and has threatened to use its veto power at the Security Council. The Obama administration continues to insist that Israelis and Palestinians achieve peace through negotiations, and that any deal be based on a return to the 1967 borders with mutually agreed upon land swaps.
Meanwhile, amid the growing escalation between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza in recent days, both Elaraby and Abbas issued condemnations of Israel after it launched a series of air strikes in retaliation for a Palestinian terror attack that killed eight Israelis, including six civilians, last week. That attacks were followed by a volley of more than 100 rockets into Israeli territory in 72 hours. One civilian died and several others, including a baby and an 8-year-old child, have been severely wounded. In retaliation, Israel launched an aerial assault on Gaza that left at least 15 people dead, including five civilians.
"We issued a statement condemning the Israeli offensive on Gaza ... and Egyptian land," Elaraby was quoted as telling reporters in Cairo. "The United Nations has to take procedures to stop the Israeli offensive on Gaza."
According to Palestinian news agency WAFA, Abbas on Saturday called on the U.N. to convene an emergency meeting over the Israeli air strikes on Gaza.