Jailed Fatah member Marwan Barghouti 311.
(photo credit: Oleg Popov / Reuters)
RAMALLAH - Jailed Tanzim-Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti has called on Palestinians to stage mass rallies in September in support of a diplomatic bid to gain UN membership for a Palestinian state.
Barghouti, a figure widely respected among many Palestinians, said taking the statehood quest to the United Nations was part of a new strategy that would open the door to "peaceful, popular resistance."
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"I call on our people in the homeland and in the diaspora to go out in a peaceful, million-man march during the week of voting in the United Nations in September," Barghouti said in a statement written from his jail cell in Israel.Barghouti is serving five life terms in prison for his role in terrorist attacks on Israelis during the second intifada. He is also thought to be the mastermind of the first intifada.
With the Middle East peace process at a standstill, the Palestinians, backed by the Arab League, have decided to seek full admission to the United Nations as part of what they are describing as a new approach to their national struggle.
The United States, the main sponsor of the two-decade-old peace process,
has objected to the Palestinian diplomatic offensive, instead calling
for a resumption of negotiations that were derailed by an impasse over settlement building. Israel says the Palestinians aim to isolate
and delegitimize it.
A US veto at the Security Council is likely to thwart the Palestinian
bid for full UN membership for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip with east Jerusalem.