- The U.N. Security Council sent the application to its admissions committee
- The committee is slated to meet Friday
- The United States, however, has promised to veto the bid
The United Nations Security Council agreed Wednesday to send the Palestinian application for statehood to its admissions committee for review.
The first meeting of that committee, which includes all 15 members of the council, is set for Friday.
The debate is expected to be largely symbolic in the face of a promised U.S. veto. But the permanent observer of the Palestinian Authority to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, held out hope that the application would be accepted.
"As you see, the process is moving forward step by step, and we hope the Security Council (will) shoulder its responsibility and approve our application and send a recommendation to the General Assembly for the admission of Palestine into the United Nations," Mansour said Wednesday.
He also sharply criticized Israel's approval Tuesday of the construction of 1,100 homes in a southern Jerusalem neighborhood that was seized by Israel in 1967.
The Palestinians claim the land Israel occupied in East Jerusalem and the West Bank after the 1967 war as part of a future Palestinian state.
Mansour said the settlements were "1,100 answers of saying no" to peace talks by the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"This speaks clearly that Israel is not interested in negotiating with us."
But Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor said it was the Palestinians who were trying to circumvent negotiations with their statehood campaign.
"We are not against a Palestinian state," he said. "The thing is how to get there. We should be talking with each other, not over each other."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made the bid for the United Nations to recognize an independent state of Palestine on Friday, a move Israel says is premature without direct talks that address its longstanding security concerns.
Abbas drew applause when he raised the document at the podium during his speech at the 66th annual session of the General Assembly.
The time has come for a "Palestinian Spring" to join the Arab Spring in reshaping the Middle East, he said. "My people desire to exercise their right to enjoy a normal life like the rest of humanity."
But Netanyahu, later taking his turn to address the General Assembly, said Palestinians are looking for a "state without peace," ignoring security concerns important to Israel.
He said Palestinians are armed not only with their "hopes and dreams," a phrase Abbas had used in his speech, but with "10,000 missiles, and Grad rockets supplied by Iran, not to mention the river of lethal weapons flowing into Gaza."
"Palestinians should first make peace with Israel and then get their state," he said, adding that peace must arrive through a two-state solution that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state.
If that occurs, Israel "will be the first" to recognize Palestinian statehood, the prime minister said.
U.S. President Barack Obama has said he supports Palestinian statehood but reiterated a longstanding U.S. position that Israel must be part of the discussions.
While a U.S. veto would block the bid for full U.N. membership, the General Assembly could still vote to upgrade the status of Palestinians, who currently hold the status of non-voting observer "entity."
The body could change that status to permanent observer "state," identical to the Vatican's standing at the United Nations.