Abbas ramps up efforts for votes in statehood bid

PA leader intensifies efforts to persuade as many countries as possible to vote in favor of status upgrade at UN.

Mahmoud Abbas UN 370 (photo credit: Scott Eells/Bloomberg)
Mahmoud Abbas UN 370
(photo credit: Scott Eells/Bloomberg)
The Palestinian Authority intensified its efforts on Tuesday to persuade as many countries as possible to vote in favor of upgrading its status at the UN to non-member observer state.
“We are seeking – through peaceful and democratic means – to persuade a large number of members to vote in favor of our resolution,” said Riad Mansour, head of the PA’s diplomatic mission to the UN.
“We hope everybody will honor the results of the democratic vote, when the General Assembly recognizes the state of Palestine and makes it a non-member state in the UN.”
Mansour said the PA statehood bid was aimed at “salvaging the two-state solution.”
The PA, he added, should not be punished because of its effort to upgrade its status at the UN; rather, it should be rewarded.
He said the statehood bid was a continuation of what happened at the UN in 1947, when the GA voted in favor of establishing two states in Mandatory Palestine.
He expressed hope that a UN vote in favor of the statehood bid would pave the way for “ending occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in order to open the doors for real peace in the Middle East.”
Mansour said PA President Mahmoud Abbas was planning to deliver a speech at the GA on Thursday, during which he would present the request for admitting the Palestinian entity as nonmember observer state.
“We expect the resolution to be approved by a large number of countries,” he said. “What we are doing is a political thing and a natural right. This is also a legal matter and not a unilateral or illegal move like Israel’s actions on the ground.”
Wasel Abu Yusef, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said Tuesday that the US administration now realized its attempt to block the statehood bid had failed.
Abu Yusef said that Washington, which had expressed opposition to the statehood bid, “has begun dealing realistically with the Palestinians’ effort to upgrade their status at the UN.”
He said the PA was expecting the international community to work toward ending Israeli “occupation” after the UN vote.
“This requires the implementation of all previous UN resolutions, including [that] concerning Israeli settlements, which are a war crime and must be stopped,” the PLO official said.
He said that Israeli financial sanctions against the PA would be ineffective, “particularly after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu during her recent visit to the region to avoid measures that could undermine the Palestinian Authority.”