Abbas vows UN membership

2011-09-17 14:18

Ramallah, Palestinian Territories - President Mahmud Abbas has promised Palestinians he will seek UN membership before the Security Council next week, amid mounting opposition from Israel and the United States.

With Washington calling the move "counterproductive," Abbas told Palestinians in a televised address on Friday: "It is our legitimate right to demand the full membership of the state of Palestine in the UN."

Europe on Saturday joined the diplomatic tussle, calling for a "constructive solution" on Palestinian statehood and a resumption of negotiations with Israel.

"We continue to believe that a constructive solution that can gather as much support as possible and allows for the resumption of negotiations is the best and only way to deliver the peace and two state solution the Palestinian people want," said Jaja Cocijanic, spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Yossi Peled, a Likud party minister without portfolio in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told public radio on Saturday Israel could not prevent the Palestinian UN recourse.

"Unfortunately, Israel does not have the means to prevent the Palestinians from demanding adhesion of their state to the UN, and it is impossible to stop them," he said.

"But the initiative will no doubt not get through the Security Council, and will leave us room to negotiate," he said, adding that only direct talks will result in the solution of two states for two peoples.

Washington has already threatened to veto the Palestinian bid in the Security Council.

Abbas made his pledge after Israel boosted its military presence in the West Bank ahead of expected Palestinian demonstrations as the UN statehood bid looms on September 23.

Israel's daily Yediot Aharonot said three battalions of reservists - some 1 500 personnel - had been mobilised and units already in the occupied territory had been reinforced.

Explaining US opposition to the planned UN bid, State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said: "We believe that any gesture, any movement in New York to that end would be counterproductive to what the real focus should be on, which is direct negotiations between the parties.

"And that remains our goal and our priority."

Direct Palestinian peace talks with Israel foundered nearly a year ago over a dispute over Israel's continued construction of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

Abbas said he would seek UN membership "to put an end to a historical injustice by attaining liberty and independence, like the other peoples of the earth, in a Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, 1967."

He was referring to the lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War, including Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Israel says they are indefensible and the borders of a future Palestinian state must be defined in bilateral negotiations.

Washington says the basis for an agreement should be the 1967 borders but with mutually agreed amendments.

Russia said this week it would support the Palestinian bid at the UN while some 127 countries have recognised Palestine as an independent state.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said two American envoys would return to the Middle East on Tuesday for talks with Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will go to the UN to explain Israel's opposition to the Palestinian move.
A statement from his office said: "Peace is not achieved by a unilateral approach to the UN, and not by associating with the Hamas terror organisation."

"Peace will only be attained by direct negotiation with Israel."

Hamas, the Islamist group ruling the Gaza Strip, hit out at Abbas's strategy, to which it is not a party, saying it could weaken the campaign to allow Palestinian refugees back to their former homes and delegitimise armed opposition to Israeli occupation.

It "carries numerous risks and could violate national rights such as the right of return, the right of resistance and self-determination," spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said.

  • Durbsdude - 2011-09-17 15:37

    There are enough corrupt states in the UN already. Nigeria, Jordan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, South Africa....lets not add terrorist states to that list too.

      TRiP - 2011-09-17 16:01

      You mean Israel?

      Durbsdude - 2011-09-17 16:11

      If they use humans to blow up public transport which takes the lives of innocent civilians... Do they? Hmmmmmm....

      sniperman - 2011-09-17 16:46

      The reason they use humans???? Have you tried getting a donkey packed with with explosives onto a crowded bus??? Damn nigh impossible.

  • Arno Young - 2011-09-17 16:01

    "after endless attempts by the PA to delegitimize Israel and attempts to brand us as an apartheid state, it turns out that the Palestinians are the ones who are interested in apartheid.” - Yuli Edelstein(Israel) "I think it would be in the best interest of the two people to be separated," - Maen Areikat (PA) Such a state would be the first to officially prohibit Jews or any other faith since Nazi Germany

  • Messenger - 2011-09-17 16:20

    I want to make this very clear. The idea of "land for peace" will never work. This is a fight between Israel and those who do not accept her right to exist. This is a fight between God and Satan.

  • slg - 2011-09-17 17:56

    This may be the only way around Israel's block against working with the Palestinians. On another note, a combined Israel and Palestine: one democratic state. Now isn't that a dream worth dreaming?

      Nasdaq7 - 2011-09-17 18:06

      It's nonsense man. Separate countries can exist in peace. You don't need ignorant poorly educated people in control of a country for it to be at peace.

  • MosesMabhida - 2011-09-17 19:08

    Abbas! stop taking the Palestinians on another disaster route! Just accept Israel as a democratic Jewish state and they will intern accept you. you cant call for Israel's destruction and at the same time ask them for a state. The UN might be blinded by your wrong attitude - but Israel will distort your attempt at a future if it includes Israel not being there. Hamas needs to change its charter before the UN agree to put their weight behind the rightful plight of the Palestinians. The Palestinians' biggest threat is their own pathetic and violent leadership.

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