First Published: 2012-11-13

 

Abbas: Palestinian UN bid on Nov 29

 

Palestinian president will attend Assembly General session for vote on non-state UN membership despite US, Israeli opposition.

 

Middle East Online

The only way is the Assembly General

CAIRO - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has announced that the Palestinian Authority will present its bid for non-state UN membership, despite US and Israeli opposition.

Following talks with Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi in Cairo, "it has been agreed that the request will be presented on November 29," Abbas told reporters on Monday, calling for support from Arab states.

US President Barack Obama told Abbas in a telephone conversation on Sunday that his administration opposes the Palestinian UN initiative, and Israeli officials have threatened punitive measures if the Palestinians go ahead with the bid.

"We don't want any confrontations with the United States or Israel. If we could start a dialogue or negotiations the day after the vote, we will," the Palestinian leader said.

"We know we are a country under occupation, but we want our land which was occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem. Israel says Palestinian lands are disputed and open to negotiation, and is hurrying to build settlements, covering Jerusalem with settlements," Abbas said.

He met earlier on Monday in Riyadh with Saudi King Abdullah, before travelling to Cairo for an Arab League meeting.

"President Abbas will attend the Assembly General session for the vote," his spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeina, said.

The announcement came amid heightened tit-for-tat attacks between the Israeli army and the Palestinians, with Israel's military top brass weighing a stronger response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli airforce launched three raids on targets in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday which hit an uninhabited area to the west of Gaza City, without causing any casualties, Palestinian security sources and witnesses said.

The air raids came hours after Gaza militants on Monday fired six rockets at southern Israel, one of which exploded next to a house.

The number of rockets fired on Monday represented a significant drop from a day earlier, when dozens of missiles crashed into southern Israel, prompting Israel to stage a series of overnight raids.

But it was unclear if the slowdown was a step towards a more decisive truce, or a lull.

Israel's top military officials were said to be weighing whether to launch a stronger response to the flare-up, and Defence Minister Ehud Barak warned that efforts to stamp out rocket fire would intensify.

"These are very important days.. in light of the ongoing activity against Hamas and terror organisations in Gaza, which is likely to intensify and expand," he said, quoted by his office.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, touring southern Israel with foreign diplomats, warned that "the world must understand that Israel has the complete right and the obligation to protect its citizens."

Israeli officials have threatened punitive measures if the Palestinian initiative goes ahead, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman pledging to "ensure the collapse" of Abbas's Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA).

Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh told a news conference in the West Bank town of Ramallah that he believed any response would be relatively limited.

"I think that most of these measures that have been declared will be empty threats," he said.

"Israel has a vested interest in maintaining the status of the Palestinian Authority as it stands today and I don't think that the Israelis are in a position to push this Palestinian Authority to a total collapse."

He added the Arab League had promised the PA a financial safety net in the event of punitive Israeli sanctions.

Another Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erakat, told official Voice of Palestine radio that PA officials were working to have the League pledge implemented.

"We are trying to activate the decision related to the Arab safety network, valued at $100 million monthly, in case Israel blocks our money and the US closes the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) office and halts aid," he said.

Erakat said "Obama did not utter any threats but there are threats from the Congress, which has a draft bill, according to which it would demand closing the PLO office in Washington and cutting off aid" if the UN bid goes ahead.

 

US proposes full restoration of Western Sahara mission

UN envoy plans to hold another round of Syria peace talks

Iranians vote in second round of parliamentary elections

South Sudan unveils unity government

Rabai al-Madhoun wins International Prize for Arabic Fiction

Palestinians support, Israel opposes French peace initiative

Biden in surprise Iraq visit to support embattled government

MSF condemns strike on Aleppo hospital

Lifeline to millions in Syria 'may be broken' as violence intensifies

Turkish journalists get two years for publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Greece making 'incredible effort' to tackle migration issue

Iraq shuts Al-Jazeera bureau for 'instigating violence and sectarianism'

Syria regime readies for major Aleppo offensive

Israel nuclear reactor defects spark secrecy dilemma

Suicide bomber targets Aden police chief

Death toll in Syria's Aleppo rises despite UN truce plea

Italy to introduce migrant fingerprinting at sea

27 Yemeni soldiers dead in key offensive

Global press freedom drops to lowest level in 12 years

Constitutional amendment grants Jordan king more powers

Suicide bomber blows herself up in Turkey northwestern city

Austria adopts one of EU's toughest asylum laws

Netherlands warns no safety 'guarantees' for visitors to Turkey

Battered Aleppo residents ask: Where is Syria ceasefire?

Libya kidnappers release Serbian worker

Sinai bombing kills three Egypt policemen

UAE considers tough safety code after skyscraper fires

UNESCO says Palmyra retains 'authenticity' despite damage

Khamenei says US 'fomenting Iranophobia'

Russia applauds cooperation with US on Syria

Etihad Airways sees $103 million profit in 2015

Russia asks UN to list Syria rebel group as 'terrorist'

2 Palestinians shot dead at checkpoint

Turkey PM pledges draft constitution will guarantee secularism

Greece returns 49 migrants to Turkey

Nearly quarter of Iran's parliament seats at stake in election run-off

Iraqi lawmakers approve PM’s partial cabinet

EU urges Libya parliament to endorse unity government

US General reports ISIS recruiting appeal in decline

Call for islamisation of constitution sparks concerns in Turkey

After controversial referendum, Sudan declares Darfur ‘crisis’ over

Kuwait emir urges Yemen negotiators to reach political settlement

Protesting Iraq MPs block vote on new cabinet lineup

Syria opposition group calls for unity in peace talks

Iran summons Swiss envoy over $2 billion US court ruling