Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is set to head to New York on
Monday to seek the UN’s approval for upgrading the PA’s status to non-member
PA officials, meanwhile, said they were not taking seriously
Israeli and American threats to punish the PA leadership for going to the UN,
noting that Arab countries have expressed readiness to compensate the
On the eve of his departure, the PA organized a
rally outside Abbas’s office in Ramallah in support of the statehood
Ignoring demands from the US and some EU countries, Abbas is
planning to present the request to the UN this coming
Addressing his supporters, Abbas said that after obtaining the
status of non-member observer, he will work toward ending the dispute between
his Fatah faction and Hamas.
Abbas said that “all Palestinian factions”
supported the statehood bid. Last week, however, Hamas denied that it was in
favor of the statehood bid at the UN.
“I’m going to the UN to demand a
just peace based on international legitimacy to achieve an independent
Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital,” Abbas declared. He also
pledged to work toward seeking the release of Palestinian “heroes” from Israeli
Abbas said he was going to the UN after having won the support
of all “peace-lovers and countries that believe in the Palestinians’ right to
A large number of countries supported the statehood
bid, he added.
PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said that November 29 would
be a “historic turning point in the march of our people toward a state and
He predicted that a majority of UN members would vote in favor of
the PA’s statehood bid “as an expression of the international status of
Malki is also scheduled to travel to New York Monday to put
the final touches to the PA resolution.
Malki said he would continue his
efforts in New York to persuade as many countries as possible to vote in favor
of upgrading the status of a Palestinian entity.
Muhaissen, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, warned that his group would
not hesitate to resort to “armed struggle” in light of Israeli threats to take
punitive measures against the PA because of the statehood bid.
“The armed struggle is a
guaranteed right for the Palestinian people to defend themselves against the
Israeli threats,” Muhaissen said. “The Israeli threats are part of a policy
aimed at deterring the Palestinian leadership from going to the UN.”
Fatah official said that he nevertheless did not expect Israel to carry out its
threats. He claimed that Israel had issued similar threats before Yasser Arafat
declared the establishment of a Palestinian state in 1988 in
Muhaissen said the Palestinians would be able to cope with any
sanctions imposed on them by the US and Israel, including cutting off financial
aid to the PA. He said that Arab countries have promised to support the PA
financially if the US and Israel carried out their threats.
official Nabil Sha’ath also dismissed as “worthless” Israeli threats against the
“Who has an interest in the abrogation of the Oslo Accords?” Sha’ath
asked. “They [Israel] will lose. Do they want to bear the costs of occupation?”
Referring to US pressure on the PA leadership to refrain from presenting the
statehood bid to the UN, Sha’ath said: “Instead of threatening us, they should
give the Palestinians their rights.”
He too said that the Palestinians
have received promises for financial support from Arab countries if the US cuts
off aid and Israel withholds tax revenues belonging to the PA.
Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, warned that canceling the Oslo
Accords would jeopardize security and stability in the region and the entire
However, she said, she did not expect Israel to take such a
drastic step “because this is not in the interest of any political
PA Labor Minister Ahmed Majdalani was quoted by the PA’s official
news agency Wafa as saying that Israeli threats to withhold tax revenues were
part of the Israeli government’s “election campaign.”
Majdalani said that
canceling agreements that regulate security and economic relations between the
PA and Israel “effectively mean that Israel has recognized the Palestinian
state.” He said that withholding the tax revenues would force the PA to stop
paying full salaries to its civil servants and reduce health, social and
educational services to the Palestinians.