Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Arab League to seek full UN membership for Palestinian state

Ugly Truth

An Arab League committee decided on Saturday to seek full UN membership for a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital, it said in a statement.

The Arab League’s peace process follow-up committee said it would request membership for the state of Palestine at the UN General Assembly’s meeting in New York in September.

Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani speaks as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) listens on during the opening of the Arab League Monitoring Committee in Doha on May 28, 2011.

“The committee decided to go to the United Nations to request full membership for Palestine on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” it said in a statement.

Earlier on Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said there were “no shared foundations” for peace talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seeking UN recognition of Palestinian statehood was his only option.

Abbas expressed concern that taking the diplomatic step opposed by the United States and Israel could result in financial sanctions and urged Arab states to fill any gap.

While he left room for a compromise, saying a resumption of peace talks on terms acceptable to the Palestinians would avoid the UN move, the remarks were some of Abbas’s bleakest yet on the likelihood of more negotiations.

Palestinian leaders have said Netanyahu’s ideas for peace with the Palestinians, outlined in a speech to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, put more obstacles in the path of an already moribund peace process.

“We see from the conditions that Netanyahu laid out that there are no shared foundations … for negotiations. Our fundamental option is to go to the United Nations,” Abbas said in his opening remarks.

“This is no secret, we have said it to the Americans and the Europeans and the Israelis, our only option is to go to the United Nations,” he said.

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