'Palestinians are still pushing for full UN membership'

Tibi responds to PA official Shaath's assessment that the PA will give UNSC time to consider membership request before heading to UNGA.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Chip East)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Chip East)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will present his request for full membership in the United Nations on Friday despite a warning from US President Barack Obama that the US will veto such a request, MK Ahmed Tibi told Army Radio on Thursday.
Tibi spoke from New York, where he was accompanying Abbas's PA delegation. Abbas's move, he said, comes despite American pressure to abandon the Security Council bid.
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Also on Wednesday, senior Palestinian official Nabil Shaath said that the Palestinians will give the UN Security Council "some time" to study their application for full membership in the United Nations.
"We will give some time to the Security Council to consider first our full membership request before heading to the General Assembly," Nabil Shaath, a senior official in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, told reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The move could buy more time for the US and the Quartet to come up with a formula to get the Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table before a UN vote on recognition of a Palestinian state takes place.
Some UN diplomats and officials have said that the 15-nation Security Council might buy time by dragging out its review of the Palestinian UN membership application.
That review, they say, could theoretically take months, or even years.
Palestinian Authority officials expressed deep regret and anger over US President Barack Obama’s speech at the UN on Wednesday and reiterated the PA’s position for agreeing to the resumption of peace talks with Israel.
They said that despite Obama’s opposition, the PA would go ahead with its plan to submit a request for full membership of a Palestinian state to the Security Council on Thursday.
Some of the PA officials described Obama’s speech as a “stab in the back” to the Palestinians.
“We are ready to return to the negotiations as soon as Israel agrees to stop construction in the settlements and accepts the 1967 borders as the reference for the peace talks,” Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas said in response to Obama’s speech.
But while Abbas’s spokesman was careful not to criticize Obama in public, other members of the PA delegation accompanying the PA president to New York strongly condemned the US Administration’s stance toward the statehood bid.
One official told The Jerusalem Post that Obama “has in fact endorsed [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu’s policy.”
The Palestinians don’t consider Obama a friend and today he once again proved that he is afraid of Netanyahu and the Jewish lobby, the official said.
Another official said that Abbas was “very disappointed” by Obama’s speech. “President Abbas said he can’t understand why Obama has changed his position regarding a Palestinian state,” he told the Post. “After all, it was President Obama himself who said in last year’s address to the UN that an independent and sovereign Palestinian state would be established by the next UN meeting this year.”
Herb Keinon and Reuters contributed to this report.

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