Palestinian leaders are making a mystery out of their bid to secure UN recognition this month that is causing diplomatic panic in the United States and Israel. President Barack Obama’s administration has threatened to veto any resolution seeking statehood that is put to the UN Security Council. But Palestinian diplomats are refusing to say how they intend to form their demand. So diplomats are scrambling to Security Council history books to see how past cases have been handled and UN law books on the “Vatican Option” – a kind of super-observer status given to the Holy See – that could be passed by the UN General Assembly. The legal ramifications of just voting for a simple statement in the 193-member UN General Assembly backing the Palestinian cause worries many countries. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has said he will meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York on September 20 to put the Palestinian demand. Even that encounter is not yet confirmed by the UN. The Palestinians already have UN membership as an observer mission. The mission chief Riyadh Mansour insisted that the Palestinians want a Security Council decision on full membership or a General Assembly vote to become a non-member state, putting the Palestinian Authority on a par with the Vatican and the European Union. The United States has insisted the only way for the Palestinians to secure a state is through direct negotiations with Israel, which have not been held for a year. Israeli politicians have warned that any UN recognition could heighten the potential for violence. “The administration has been very clear as well,” Wendy Sherman, Obama’s nominee to become number three at the US State Department, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. “If any such resolution were put in front of the Security Council — that we would veto it.” European nations, and many others, are embarrassed and hoping that the Palestinians will not seek full state recognition, yet. Even diplomats from countries that back the Palestinian Authority say they are unsure how to vote if Abbas takes the alternative of the “Vatican Option” at the General Assembly. “The option we support should not preclude a return to the negotiating table nor should it aggravate the situation on the ground, nor should it trigger violence on the ground,” said one European diplomat.