Abbas: We're going to the UN to demand full membership

Palestinians will "request our legitimate right"; says move not designed to delegitimize Israel but to delegitimize occupation.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday he would demand full membership of the United Nations when he goes to the UN General Assembly next week, setting up a diplomatic clash with Israel and the United States.
"We are going to the United Nations to request our legitimate right, obtaining full membership for Palestine in this organization," Abbas said in a televised speech, indicating he would seek a vote on the issue in the UN Security Council.
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"We are going to the Security Council," he added, to rapturous applause from his audience of Palestinian leaders. "As for other options, we have not yet taken a decision on them," he said.
Abbas said that nobody should have any illusions that he will come back from New York with independence.
"If we succeed, and this is what we are working towards, then we must know that the day following the recognition of the state, the occupation will not end," Abbas said.
"But we will have obtained the world's recognition that our state is occupied and that our land is occupied and not disputed territory, as the Israeli government claims," he said.
He added that the move is not intended to isolate Israel or delegitimize its legal status. "Israel is there, no one can isolate or take away its legal status, but we need to isolate the policies of Israel. We need to put an end to the occupation and take away the legal status of the occupation."
The PA president said that recognition of statehood with pre-1967 borders is necessary for renewed negotiations with Israel. "We need to have full [UN] membership within [pre-1967] borders in order to go to negotiations on a basis adopted by the world so that we may discuss the permanent issues of Jerusalem, borders, refugees - and our prisoners in Israeli prisons."
"We're not going there to bring independence, we will come back to negotiate the issues, but god willing, we need full membership in the UN."
He stressed that any popular protests in support of his initiative should be peaceful. Jerusalem fears that the UN showdown could spark violence across the West Bank and is putting IDF forces on high alert in the area.
Abbas is due to address the UN General Assembly on Sept. 23, when he said he would present Palestine's membership bid.
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