RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed onto 15 international conventions on Tuesday, he shocked the U.S. sponsors of troubled Middle East peace talks. But the move was carefully limited to avoid American retaliation.
Abbas’s action may have been designed more as a symbolic act of defiance to shore up his tenuous standing among Palestinians frustrated at the diplomatic impasse with Israel over their goal of statehood than a knife in the heart of peacemaking.
As a non-member state in the United Nations, Palestinians can join 63 international agencies and accords. However, by only signing conventions dealing with social and human rights instead of seeking full membership in U.N. bodies, the Palestinians’ foreign minister said they would not provoke U.S. sanctions.
“Frankly speaking, I don’t expect any consequences coming from the U.S. Congress regarding this step at all,” Riad al-Malki told reporters on Wednesday.