US protests 'State of Palestine' placard in UN


``If Israel would like to go further by implementing the E-1 plan and the other related plans around Jerusalem, then yes, we would be going to the International Criminal Court,'' he said. ``We would have no other choice. It depends on the Israeli decision. Israel knows very well our position.''

Since winning recognition as a nonmember U.N. observer state, the Palestinians believe they now qualify for membership in the ICC, although that remains unclear.

In opposing the Palestinian bid for upgraded U.N. status, Israel cited Palestinian threats to turn to the ICC to prosecute Israeli officials for a variety of alleged crimes. Israel does not recognize the court's jurisdiction and believes its own actions do not violate international law, but officials are concerned legal action could embarrass the country.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas took another symbolic step to capitalize on the U.N. status two weeks ago, proclaiming that letterhead and signs would bear the name "State of Palestine.''

Robert Serry, the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told reporters that the nameplate read ``state of Palestine'' because the U.N. Secretariat ``is guided by the membership, which has pronounced itself on this issue'' in the November General Assembly vote.

"At the same time, member-states have their rights to reserve their opinion'' on U.N. decisions, he said. "That resolution does not diminish the need for negotiations to actually arrive at a two-state solution.''

Israeli U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor told the council that "the major obstacle to the two-state solution is the Palestinian leadership's refusal to speak to their own people about the true parameters of a two-state solution.''

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