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.

 

Warring Syrians set for first face-to-face at Astana

Turkey moves closer to expanding Erdogan powers

IS demolishes more monuments in recaptured Palmyra

Bodies of firemen recovered from Tehran tower

Police, ruling party hit by attacks in Istanbul

Bomb kills 4 in refugee camp near Syrian border with Jordan

Egypt says political solution 'only way' for Libya ahead of talks

Turkey concedes including Assad in Syria talks

Netanyahu congratulates ‘friend’ Trump in tweet

Israel denounces Belgian plan to interrogate ex-minister

Denmark grants soldiers permission to fight IS in Syria

Car bomb near Benghazi mosque wounds 12

UN calls IS destruction of Palmyra relics ‘war crime’

Armed settlers rescued from angry Palestinian villagers

Petition filed for Israeli court to return body of Bedouin

29 Yemen rebels killed by Saudi-led air strikes

Iran losing hope of saving trapped firefighters

Algeria’s Islamist parties unite ahead of April elections

British worker dies on Qatar 2022 World Cup site

Search continues for trapped Iran firefighters

More than 40 jihadists killed in north Syria air strikes

Trump to be sworn in as 45th US president

Trump to retain envoy to anti-IS coalition

More than 20 firefighters feared dead in Tehran building collapse

Explosions in Gaza target Fatah member

UN expert tells Saudi to end ban on women driving

Desalination plant opens in Gaza to tackle water crisis

Syria’s Assad hopes rebels disarm after Astana talks

UN says 400,000 Syrian child refugees in Turkey not in school

Libya PM skips Davos to focus on electricity crisis

Greece, Cyprus insist peace deal must include Turkish withdrawal

Mistura to lead UN delegation at Astana Syria talks

Turkey slams French satire song about Istanbul attack

Saudi minister says kingdom to become ‘softer’ after reforms

Bahrain lifts ban on electronic Al-Wasat newspaper

Arab Israelis strike in protest over house demolitions

Iran sees Syria talks as opportunity to gain influence

Kuwait upholds sentence for three royals for insulting judges

Tunisia facing mounting calls against jail-for-joint law

Iran's oldest high-rise building on fire collapses

IMF says Egypt on track for next aid tranche

Bahrain police disperse Shiite protesters

Key Syria rebel group opts out of Astana peace talks

Moroccan Sufi ‘living master’ dies at 95

France says Iraqi jihadist among 2015 stadium bombers