PA set on UN bid unless Israel meets their terms

Abbas: If Israel accepts two-state solution along 1967 lines, agrees to settlement freeze, Palestinians won't go to UN for recognition.

August 27, 2011 22:21
2 minute read.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas

Abbas 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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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.

"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 modern history."

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 September.

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.

PLO 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 our focus."

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 UN.

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 Palestinians.

Erekat stressed that the Palestinians were nevertheless keen on avoiding confrontation with the US Administration over the statehood plan.

He said that the Palestinians were going to the UN after having conducted "thorough" consultations with experts and politicians, as well as Arab countries.

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