PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN 370 (R).
(photo credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters)
The Palestinian Authority Saturday denied that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was considering postponing a request to the UN to upgrade the status of a Palestinian state.
Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for Abbas, said that the decision to present the Palestinian request to the UN this month has been taken by the Palestinian leadership and the Arab countries.
He pointed out that the Palestinians circulated over the weekend a draft proposal
of the statehood bid to the UN.
"The decision has been taken and there will be no backtracking on it," Abu Rudaineh said. "We will go the Un to ask for a state within the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital."
Abu Rudaineh said that the Palestinians would be ready to resume peace talks with Israel after obtaining the status of non-member in the UN.
"After obtaining the UN resolution, the Palestinian people would be ready for negotiations on final-status issues including Jerusalem and the refugees," he told the Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam newspaper.
"Either a Palestinian state is established within the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital or there will be instability in the Middle East."
The denial came after unnamed Palestinian officials told a number of Arab media outlets last Friday that Abbas was considering delaying the statehood bid until January 2013 to give US President Barack Obama time to launch his second term in office.
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat also denied what he termed "rumors" suggesting that Abbas was contemplating postponing the statehood bid.
Erekat said that reports about a possible delay were "test balloons" launched by Israel against the PA leadership.
Erekat's remarks came during separate meetings with the consuls-general of Spain, Belgium, Sweden and Britain.
Erekat urged the EU to vote in favor of upgrading the Palestinians' status at the UN to non-member - a move which, eh added, would constitute victory for peace, democracy, freedom and stability.
Nabil Sha'ath, a top Fatah official, Saturday accused the US and Israel of "threatening and blackmailing" the PA leadership over the statehood bid.
He said that the US was threatening to cut off financial aid to the PA and close the PLO office in Washington while Israel was tailing about withholding tex revenues belonging to the Palestinian government in the West Bank.
"These are illegal, unjust and immoral threats," Sha'ath said in comments published by a Saudi newspaper. "No country is entitled to deprive our people of their right to self-determination and the declaration of a state," he added.
Last Friday, the PA distributed among UN member states a draft resolution for upgrading the status of a Palestinian state although no date has been set for a vote in the General Assembly on the Palestinian application.
If approved, the resolution would "accord to Palestine Observer Status status in the United Nations system, without prejudice to the acquired rights, privileges and role of the Palestine Liberation Organization as the representative of the Palestinian people, in accordance with the relevant resolutions and practices."
The draft resolution says that the PA is committed to the "two-state solution" and expresses the "urgent need for the resumption and acceleration of negotiations within the Middle East peace process to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides that resolves all outstanding core issues, namely the Palestine refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, borders, security, water and prisoners."
A letter from the PA observer mission attached to the resolution asks UN members to support the "enhancement of the status of palestine in the United Nations to be considered by the General Assembly at a date to be announced in the near future."