Israel: PA trying to score points at U.N. with flag raising proposal

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has complained to the United Nations over a Palestinian proposal to raise its flag at the international organization’s headquarters in New York.

The flags of the 193 U.N. member states are flown outside of U.N. headquarters as well as other U.N. offices around the world. There also are two U.N. non-member observer states, the Vatican and Palestine, whose flags are not flown.

The Palestinian Authority is  “attempting to swiftly change longstanding U.N. tradition in order to score political points,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, said in a letter dated Tuesday which was sent to U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon and ,the General Assembly President.

“For 70 years the United Nations has raised only flags of full member states. Even though the Palestinians are attempting to change longstanding protocols and traditions, they have not deemed it appropriate to allow the Member States of this organization to debate, discuss or reflect on the consequences and implications of this proposal. Not even one round of informal consultations was held before the resolution was formally submitted to the secretariat,” Prosor wrote.

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The Vatican has not co-sponsored the initiative and has no plans to fly its flag at the U.N., Prosor said.

“Once again the Palestinians prefer to score easy and meaningless points at the UN, simply because they can. Rather than choosing to negotiate in good faith while making the required compromises, they prefer hollow one-sided resolutions. It’s time to unequivocally tell them – this is not the path to statehood, this is not the way for peace,” he added.

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour told The Associated Press that a revised draft of the proposal requesting that “observer states maintaining permanent observer missions will raise their flags after member states,” will be circulated to member states on Thursday and that a vote of the General Assembly could be held on Sept. 10.

The proposal would give the Secretary General 20 days to raise the flag of Palestine.

The United States told AP that it opposes the flag raising proposal.

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