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Members Of U.S. Congress And Jewish Leaders Oppose Palestinian Bid For Statehood

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (center) speaking at a press conference opposing the Palestinian bid for statehood near the UN headquarters in New York.
NEW YORK -- Members of the U.S. Congress joined national Jewish leaders on September 26 at a press conference in New York to express their opposition to the Palestinian Authority's bid for full state recognition by the United Nations.

Speakers at the event echoed calls by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton solution to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with direct negotiations between the two parties.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas submitted a formal request for full UN recognition of a Palestinian state on September 23.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Democrat-New York) described the Palestinian move as "theatrics" and urged Abbas to return to reopen talks with Israel.

"It's very clear that the only path to peace and a two-state solution is at the negotiating table," she said. "We want to see a future where Israeli and Palestinian children are actually able to live side-by-side in peace and in a community. The only way we will accomplish this is to immediately return to the negotiating table without any pre-conditions."

The UN Security Council is scheduled to take up the Palestinian application on September 26 in the first step of a process that's expected to take several weeks to play out.

The request heads next to a council committee that considers applications from potential new members.

The United States, which has veto power in the Council, has vowed to block the Palestinian membership request if it comes up for a vote.

Diplomats believe the Palestinians have only six certain votes on the 15-member council -- China, Russia, Brazil, Lebanon, India, and South Africa.

Nine votes are needed for the resolution to pass, but any of the five veto-power-holding members -- China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States -- can block its passage.
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