Mahmoud Abbas 311.
(photo credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)
The Palestinian Authority decided to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state in September because of the failure of the peace talks, and this is not a unilateral act, PA President Mahmoud Abbas declared on Saturday.
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The statehood bid was not aimed at delegitimizing or isolating Israel, he said.
“I don’t know how a people living under occupation and demanding its right could delegitimize an occupying state. This is really strange,” he added.
The decision to go to the UN would not prevent the Palestinians from returning to the negotiating table with Israel, “because there are issues that won’t be solved through the UN, but only through negotiations,” Abbas said.
He was speaking during a meeting in Istanbul of some 90 PA ambassadors who gathered to discuss the September statehood bid.
“We spent many years trying to achieve results through negotiations,” Abbas said in a speech to the ambassadors. “But these days we see that there are no results because of Israeli intransigence.”
He said the PA had conducted “important and serious” negotiations with former prime minister Ehud Olmert and almost reached an agreement.
“We discussed all the major issues and each side knew and understood the other’s position,” Abbas said.
Since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu came to power in 2009, “we have failed to persuade him to resume the negotiations on the basis of the 1967 borders and cease settlement construction for a limited period.
Negotiations are our first, second and third option, but when the doors are closed in front of us we must go to the UN to complain,” Abbas said.
He added: “We want to live with Israel as neighbors when we achieve our rights. We want to get our state after they [Israel] got their state according to UN [General Assembly] Resolution 181 [from 1947], which is conditioned on the establishment of a Palestinian state. But they established their state and forgot about us.”
Abbas said that Palestinians across the political spectrum were in agreement over the need to go to the UN in September.
He called on the PA ambassadors around the world to unite their efforts to persuade the hosting countries to support the statehood initiative.
Abbas reiterated his desire to avoid a confrontation with the US over the statehood plan. Washington has informed the PA that it would veto the plan at the UN Security Council.
“We told the Americans that we don’t want a confrontation with them,” he added. “We don’t have the ability or desire for this. We want to go to the UN as a result of understandings with them, and that’s why we are continuing to talk to them about it.”