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'Despite Hamas opposition, PA to go to UN September'
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH AND HERB KEINON
17/07/2011
Erekat: Abbas to ask Norway, Spain to recognize Palestinian state on '67 lines; Israel continues efforts to muster "moral minority."
 
The Palestinian Authority will ask the Security Council in September to recognize a Palestinian state as a full member of the UN, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Sunday.

Hamas, meanwhile, announced its opposition to the PA plan and said it had not been consulted about it.

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“This is a legal, political and moral right,” Erekat said. “If the US uses the veto against our request, we will return to the UN with a request to upgrade the status of the Palestinian state to nonmember.

Afterward, we will go back to the Security Council once and twice and three times to ask for full membership.”

Erekat said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently touring a number of EU countries, would ask Norway and Spain to recognize a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.

“President Abbas is determined to go to the UN,” said Erekat, who is accompanying Abbas.

Abbas also plans to visit Turkey in the coming days, to attend a meeting of scores of PA ambassadors to discuss the PA’s diplomatic moves ahead of September, Erekat disclosed.

Erekat told the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the PA would proceed with its plan to seek full membership from the Security Council, even if the peace talks with Israel are revived before September.

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“The negotiations and the application to the Security Council don’t contradict each other,” he explained. “We are going to the Security Council to consolidate the two-state solution. [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu is the one who has rejected the two-state solution and closed the door to negotiations by rejecting US President Barack Obama’s vision.”

Erekat said that Abbas would personally carry the membership request to the Security Council, in his capacity as “Palestinian president and chairman of the PLO Executive Committee.”

According to Erekat, September would mark the beginning of a move designed to gain full membership of a Palestinian state in the Security Council. “In September we will file a request for full membership with the Security Council and this will only be the beginning,” he said. “It won’t be a one-time attempt and it could recur every day.”

Palestinians were not interested in a confrontation with the US administration over the statehood bid, Erekat said.

“We will talk with the Americans about this,” he said. “We have nine members of the Security Council who have recognized us: India, Lebanon, South Africa, Gabon, Nigeria, Bosnia, Brazil, Russia and China. We will keep trying with the US until it changes its position.”

Ezat al-Risheq, a senior Damascusbased Hamas official, said that Abbas’s decision to go to the UN was an “individual step” that was not coordinated with other Palestinian factions.

“A Palestinian state should be extracted and not begged for,” Risheq said.

“The resistance is the only way for the Palestinians to extract their rights and liberate their land and establish their state.”

Israeli officials, meanwhile, said there has been no let-up in Jerusalem’s efforts to put together a “moral minority” of “important, democratic countries” to refrain from supporting the Palestinian bid in the General Assembly, where the Palestinians are expected to turn if they are thwarted by a US veto in the Security Council.

The thrust of the emphasis, the officials said, is Europe, with Netanyahu expected to make his second trip there this month, going in two weeks to Hungary and Poland.

Earlier this month Netanyahu went to Romania and Bulgaria, where he lobbied the governments there against supporting the PA move.

Depriving the PA of votes from key democracies in Europe would “take the teeth out” of any resolution, one official said, while acknowledging that the Palestinians have an automatic majority to get a resolution supporting statehood through the General Assembly.

One of the central arguments being used in efforts to convince countries not to support the move is to say that it will only make returning to the negotiation table more difficult, and will be a setback to the peace process.

In parallel with efforts to get states to refrain from supporting the move, the officials said Israel is continuing to work with Washington and others in the international community trying to find a formula for returning to the talks that would keep the Palestinians from going to the UN.
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