Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked the United Nations on Friday to recognise a state for his people, even though Israel still occupies its territory and the United States has vowed to veto the move.
Abbas handed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a letter requesting full UN membership, which the Security Council must consider — although this may take some time.
“We extend our hand to the Israeli government and the Israeli people for peacemaking,” Abbas said in a speech setting out his case to the UN General Assembly, which greeted him with a standing ovation.
His appeal to the council reflects a loss of faith after 20 years of failed peace talks sponsored by the United States, Israel’s main ally, and alarm at relentless Israeli settlement expansion eating into the land Palestinians want for a state.
It also exposes Washington’s dwindling influence in a region shaken by Arab uprisings and shifting alliances that have pushed Israel, for all its military muscle, deeper into isolation.
Abbas said. “This (Israeli settlement) policy will destroy the chances of achieving a two-state solution and threatens to undermine the structure of the Palestinian National Authority and even end its existence.”
UN Council meeting
The UN Security Council will meet Monday afternoon to discuss a request by the Palestinians to admit the state of Palestine as a full UN member, the council’s current president said on Friday.
Powers call for 2012 peace deal
Peace-brokering powers called on Friday for the Palestinians and Israel to resume within a month negotiations that stalled a year ago and seek a peace agreement by the end of 2012. The Mideast Quartet of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations called for the parties to meet within a month to work out a negotiating agenda and commit to reaching an agreement “not longer than the end of 2012.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2011.
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