x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Palestinians renew UN membership bid

The UN bid later this month will be the only way to address 'the assault of settlement activity and to save the two-state solution,' Palestinian Authority president says.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas announces the renewed big at a ceremony marking the eighth anniversary of the death of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas announces the renewed big at a ceremony marking the eighth anniversary of the death of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

RAMALLAH // The Palestinian Authority will submit a bid to the United Nations General Assembly for non-state membership this month, president Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday.

"We're going to the United Nations in November 2012, not 2013, or 2014," Mr Abbas said at an event commemorating the eighth anniversary of the death of veteran Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

"Israel's hysterical reaction to our UN bid is due to its desire to continue the occupation and we are under pressure of late from multiple parties to waive our just demand, but we will not," Mr Abbas said.

The UN bid was "the only way to address the assault of settlement activity and to save the two-state solution", he added.

Palestinian envoys to the UN last week unveiled the resolution that they plan to submit to the General Assembly seeking observer-state status. The resolution would call on the assembly to accord observer membership while also urging the UN Security Council to "consider favourably" an application for full membership made by Mr Abbas last year.

Also speaking at the ceremony, the head of the Arab League, Nabil Al Arabi, offered his support for the bid, which he called "an important move to assert the rights of the Palestinians to their land".

If the bid succeeds, he said, "the Palestinian Territories will be considered a country under occupation".

According to a poll carried out by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre, published yesterday, 48 per cent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza believe the UN bid will "benefit" the Palestinian cause.

Just 12 per cent thought it would be "to the detriment of the Palestinian cause", while 36 per cent felt it would be neither beneficial nor detrimental.

With direct peace talks on hold for more than two years, the Palestinians have sought to push for their long-promised state in other ways, in particular by attempting to upgrade their status at the UN.

They tried last year to obtain full membership at the UN through the Security Council, but the bid stalled over the opposition of the US, which wields veto powers.

Yesterday Mr Abbas gave no date for the resolution's submission, but officials have floated the dates of either November 15 or 29.

The move is fiercely opposed by Israel, and Israeli ministers have reportedly already met to discuss potential sanctions against the Palestinians should they proceed with the bid.