Abbas calls for full Palestinian membership in the UN

J'lem official: Palestinian state without negotiations is "pipe dream"; PA president calls for measures to "force Israel to end occupation."

PA President Abbas, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera 311 R (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
PA President Abbas, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
The time has come for Palestine to become a permanent member of the UN, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday as he reiterated his opposition to the idea of a state with temporary borders.
He spoke in Ramallah after meeting with visiting Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, whose country recognized a Palestinian state in January.
But unlike other South American countries that made similar declarations, Chile did not simultaneously declare its recognition of the pre-1967 armistice lines as the contours of that state.
Pinera on Saturday told Channel 1 that Chile believed the borders of the Palestinian state were best set through negotiations.
“Borders and other conditions have to be agreed upon between the Israeli government and the Palestinians...because that is the only way tohave a strong, sustainable peace and to build over rock and not over sand,” he said.
The Chilean leader, who was set to meet on Sunday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, said that the two men had already spoken over the telephone about the core issues in the conflict, including borders, refugees and Jerusalem.
“These issues have to be agreed on and discussed in peace talks,” Pinera said.
Palestinians have refused to hold direct negotiations with Israel unless it halts all West Bank settlement activity and Jewish building in east Jerusalem.
Israel has called on the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table without conditions.
Netanyahu has been under pressure to come up with a plan to break the stalemate. There is speculation that he will propose a Palestinian state with provisional borders.
Abbas on Saturday said he had not yet heard such a proposal from Netanyahu.
However, he declared the PA’s refusal of such an idea.
“We know of a proposal that was made in the past,” Abbas said. “If this proposal to establish a state with temporary borders is made again, we will reject it.”
The time has come for a Palestinian state to become a permanent member of the UN, Abbas said, adding that the PA has completed building state institutions.
He said he hoped that a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines would be declared by September and blamed Israel for the stalemate in the peace process.
Abbas called on members of the Quartet to take measures that would “force Israel to end its aggression and occupation of our lands.”
“Our people deserve freedom and independence so that they could live in their homeland like the rest of the people in the world,” he said.
The peace process was facing a crisis because of Israel’s policies and practices “that aim to seize our lands,” the PA president said.
Accusing Israel of working toward unilaterally establishing facts on the ground, Abbas warned that this was “unacceptable.”
The Palestinians, he stressed, would remain real and full partners to any peace process “despite all the obstacles.”
An Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post that Abbas could not both attack Israeli proposals such as a Palestinian state with provisional borders and refuse to negotiate.
“Israel would be more than happy to restart negotiations on a final-status agreement. It is Abu Mazen [Abbas] who has torpedoed the negotiations on a finalstatus agreement. If he wants to return to negotiations we can do so immediately. But he cannot, after he has prevented the negotiations from going forward, complain that we are looking at alternatives,” the official said.
The official added that it was a “pipe dream” for Palestinians to believe that they could acquire a state without negotiations.
In Washington on Friday, US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley spoke against Palestinian unilateral efforts at the United Nations.
“We do not believe that will be a successful strategy,” Crowley said.
Negotiations were the best path to two state solutions, in which both parties would live side by side in peace, he said.
“We are strong advocates of a viable Palestinian state, and we are strong advocates of a State of Israel that can live in peace and security with its neighbors.
We are determined to continue this effort, and the best way that the parties can advance this process is to return to direct negotiations that were – that’s what we’re trying to do,” he said.
“Our view is that the only way to resolve the core issues is through direct negotiations. And any other efforts are sideshows that we don’t think will be successful,” he said.
Last week, representatives of the Quartet – the US, the EU, the UN and Russia – met with Palestinians in Brussels. They are scheduled to arrive in Israel this week to talk with Israelis.
The talks are in advance of a high-level Quartet meeting in Paris set for March 15. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon are expected to attend.
Muhammad Shtayyeh, a member of the PA negotiating team, claimed over the weekend that some members of the Quartet were trying to postpone the meeting, so as to give Netanyahu time to work out a plan.
“It’s sad that the meeting of the Quartet could be delayed in order to give Netanyahu a chance to present his plan,” Shtayyeh said.