Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday said that "the
time has come for Palestinian independence," in a speech to the UN
General Assembly, shortly after he officially submitted a request to the
world body for recognition of Palestine as a full member state.
"Enough, enough, enough," Abbas stated, saying that "63 years of ongoing tragedy must end."RELATED:
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Abbas called the UN vote on the PA request for statehood a "moment
of truth," in which the world must decide if it will continue to allow
"the last occupation in the world to continue." The PA president held up
a copy of the official request for full UN membership to raucous applause from
the crowd of world diplomats. He added that the state in question should
have the pre-1967 lines as its borders and east Jerusalem as its
UN Security Council will meet on Monday to discuss the Palestinian
application for membership in the United Nations, Lebanon's UN
"I circulated the letter (Palestinian
application) to all members of the Security Council and I called for
consultations in light of this letter on Monday at 3 in the afternoon
(1900 GMT)," Ambassador Nawaf Salam told reporters on Friday.
Abbas called on the nations of the world to vote for the
recognition of Palestine and urged the UN Security council to expedite
"I say to the Israelis, come to peace," Abbas
said during the speech, reiterating his position that the statehood bid
should not be an impediment to the peace process.
Abbas said the
Palestinians would continue peaceful, popular resistance to Israeli
occupation and warned that West Bank settlement construction threatens both
to destroy the two-state solution and the survival of his fledgling
government, the Palestinian Authority.
The PA president blamed Israel's continued building of settlements on "Palestinian land" for the impasse in the peace process.
said that over the past year all attempts to renew peace negotiations
were repeatedly "smashed against the rocks of the Israeli government's
Just prior to his speech, Abbas asked the United
Nations to recognize a state for his people, even though the United
States has vowed to veto the move.
UN spokesman Farhan Haq said
Abbas handed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a letter requesting full UN
membership, which the Security Council must consider -- although this
may take some time.
Israeli diplomatic officials said Thursday
that Ban, however, will not immediately pass the request on, giving the
Quartet – the US, EU, Russia and UN – time to come up with a statement
agreed upon by both sides that would form the parameters for relaunching
Abbas set out his case in the speech to the UN
General Assembly, where Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also took the podium to argue that only direct negotiations between the two sides
could lead to a Palestinian state.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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