Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Friday reaffirmed his intention to press the United Nations Security Council for recognition of a Palestinian state on 1967 territories, but the Islamic Hamas movement seemed unimpressed, saying he didn't legally clarify some vague issues.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sept. 16, 2011. President Mahmoud Abbas announced here Friday that the Palestinians will turn to the United Nations Security Council to ask for the legal right for full membership of the world body. [Xinhua]
"We will go for full membership of a state on 1967 territories. The decision has been already taken and we aren't intending to withdraw it. As soon as I give my speech at the UN General Assembly, I will hand the bid to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to pass it to the president of the Security Council," said Abbas.
Abbas was addressing from his office in Ramallah to the Palestinians and the speech was aired live on the official Palestine television.
The state-run official news agency "Wafa" said that Abbas made his final decision Friday evening that the Palestinians will go ahead with the request for full UN membership at the Security Council.
After the direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians were suspended about one year ago because Israel refused to halt settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Abbas decided to approach to the UN for full membership.
"The bid to the United Nations is our first choice, and we haven't yet decided on what will be our other choices. Whatever outcome of going to the UN for the bid will be, we will take it back for discussions and debates by the various Palestinian establishments," said Abbas.
Abbas, who received warm applause and clapping of an audience of senior Palestinian officials and leaders, called on the Palestinian people to pray for him to come back from the UN with a Security Council recognition of full membership of a Palestinian state established on 1967 territories.
"We are carrying with us as an official Palestinian delegations all the pains and hopes of our people to make this achievement and end the historic injustice practiced against us," Abbas said, adding that going for the UN bid was made "after all our efforts to end the occupation through negotiations had failed."
Abbas blamed Israel for his resort to the Security Council. It is "due to the stubborn policy of the Israeli government, which refused to abide by an international reference for the negotiations based on the international resolutions and the agreements signed with the PLO (Palestine Liberation Orgnization). Israel continued settlement and the actions of Judaizing Jerusalem, " he said.
The Palestinian president revealed that a week before heading to the UN for a recognition of statehood, there are 126 countries in the 193-member UN General Assembly that fully recognize the Palestinian state established on the territories of 1967.
"This is a clear indication that the international support and sympathy to our people's aspiration of freedom and independence. We want to gain the full membership from the UN in order to resume the peace negotiations on the permanent status issues, mainly the question of refugees," said Abbas.
Abbas also stressed the importance of gaining the international recognition through peaceful means. "I want all of you to know that we want to get a seat in the UN peacefully and I always stressed on the word peacefully, so I warn you that if we don't use peaceful means to gain our rights, there will be negative consequences," he said.
He denied that the bid to the UN would have any negative influence on the position of the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and on the issue of Palestinian refugees. "The PLO is the highest authority for all the Palestinians and the refugees' issue must be resolved."
Abbas said that whatever results would be an outcome of the bid to the UN, achieving the internal Palestinian unity and ending the internal division, "would be an essential Palestinian interest since 2007 and we will continue all our efforts to achieve this strategic interest."
Abbas' speech, however, was ill received by the Hamas movement which rules the Gaza Strip.
Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said in an email to reporters that Abbas' intention to go to the UN "is a tactic step aimed at modifying the way of getting back to the negotiation table with the Israeli occupation."
"Hamas movement will not give Abbas or the PLO any legal cover or permission to apply to the UN for full membership, because we believe that his act of heading to the UN is a preparation for resuming the negotiations with Israel," said Barhoum, adding, " Hamas will never recognize Israel."