(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday set two conditions for
abandoning his plan to ask the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state
in September: acceptance of the 1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution
and a cessation of settlement construction.
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US officials urge Arabs to resume Palestinian aid
"Without this we will
continue going to the UN," Abbas said.
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Addressing a group of Muslim religious leaders in Ramallah, Abbas said that the statehood bid was not aimed at
"isolating" Israel or clashing with the US.
"We want to fulfill our dream
of achieving official recognition of our Palestinian state with full sovereignty
over the territories occupied in 1967 and a full membership in the UN." Abbas
said that the statehood bid would lay the foundations for peace, justice and
coexistence "instead of repression and aggression."
The Palestinians, he added,
"want to put an end to the conflict and the occupation, which is the longest in
He accused Israel of turning the West Bank into separate
cantons, "destroying any dream of a contiguous and independent Palestinian
state." Abbas said that failed peace talks and ongoing construction in east
Jerusalem were the main reason behind the PA's decision to go to the UN in
The US Consulate in Jerusalem, meanwhile, denied that
Consul-General Daniel Rubenstein had threatened "punitive measures" if the
Palestinians went ahead with plans to upgrade their status at the UN.
negotiator Saeb Erekat claimed last Friday that the consul made the threat
during a meeting with him.
The consulate, in a statement, said that
Erekat's account of the meeting in Jericho was "not an accurate portrayal of the
US position." The statement said that Washington's position was to encourage a
return to negotiations with Israel.
A spokeswoman for the consulate was
quoted by the Maan news agency as saying that "initiatives throughout the UN will
not bring about the two-state solution and enduring peace, which both the
parties and the US seek."
She said that the US Administration continues to
oppose initiatives by the Palestinians in the UN because "there is no substitute
for serious and substantive negotiations between the parties, and that remains
Erekat had claimed after the meeting that Rubenstein threatened that
the US would cut off aid to the Palestinians if they insisted on going to the
On Saturday, Erekat repeated his claim, adding that the Americans
have threatened to veto the PA statehood bid and cut off financial aid to the
Erekat stressed that the Palestinians were nevertheless keen
on avoiding confrontation with the US Administration over the statehood
He said that the Palestinians were going to the UN after having
conducted "thorough" consultations with experts and politicians, as well as Arab