WASHINGTON — A series of last-ditch diplomatic initiatives have failed to deflect a Palestinian effort to seek a formal statehood declaration at the United Nations, dashing White House officials' hopes of avoiding a politically painful U.S. veto at the U.N. Security Council.
Two of the Obama's administration's top Middle East advisers traveled home from the region on Thursday after two days of meetings aimed at averting a U.N. showdown two weeks from now, administration officials acknowledged. The visits followed an appeal by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who telephoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday to urge him to change course.
Palestinian officials rejected the U.S. overtures on Thursday, saying that neither diplomacy nor threats, including a vow to cut off U.S. aid, would deter a plan to seek formal statehood recognition at an upcoming Security Council session.
"We told them that we don't want a confrontation, neither with the Americans nor with anybody else," Abbas told reporters in Ramallah. "They are our friends. We don't want a confrontation, but let us express our ideas, our hope. We are a people without hope now."
The Obama administration has warned that it would veto the move, putting the White House at odds with its stated support of political rights for Arabs and an independent homeland for Palestinians.