The Palestinians plan to present the UN General Assembly with a bid to upgrade their status from "observer" to "non-member nation" later in November.
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Speaking at a ceremony marking the eighth anniversary of former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, Abbas said that "We will go to the UN even though (Israel) doesn’t want us to. We are not interested in discrediting Israel's legitimacy, but we do want to debunk the settlements' legitimacy."
Over the weekend, top Palestinian officials said that Abbas was "seriously considering" postponing the bid's presentation following US President Barack Obama's reelection.
Abbas at the ceremony (Photo: EPA)
Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh and Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat both denied the report.
Abbas noted Sunday that negotiation was the only way to resolve the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including borders, Jerusalem, security, water and the right of return. "But… we have no other way to fight the settlements and to save the two-state solution except to appeal to the international institutions that were formed for the purpose of keeping international security and preventing occupation."
Abbas also hinted as to Hamas' attempts to gain international recognition as Gaza Strip' rulers, saying that "We will not allow anyone to split the Palestinian representation.
"The Palestinian Authority is the legal entity representing the Palestinian people. This is playing with fire and we won't allow it."
Hamas was quick to denounce Abbas' statement. Hamas spokesman Fauzi Barhoum issued a statement saying: "Despite this attack and Abu Mazen's deceptive words, Hamas will not be dragged into political bickering – the movement is preoccupied with the resistance against Israel over its attacks on Gaza."
Barhoum further called Abbas' statements "empty."
Taher Nounou, spokesmen for Hamas government in Gaza, said that the fact that Abbas chose to ignore the mounting tensions between Israel and Gaza in his speech was "a crime," further adding that "By keeping quiet (Abbas) reveals that he is a part of this aggression."
The Arab League is expected to debate the PA's pending UN bid on Monday. The summit will see a meeting of the pan-Arab organizations foreign ministers with Abbas, as well as a meeting with EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Catherine Ashton.
The Arab League's Deputy Secretary-General for Palestinian Affairs Muhammad Sabih estimated that 115 of the UN General Assembly's members are likely to support a Palestinian status upgrade, 27 are likely to oppose it and 51 are still on the proverbial fence.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr demanded Sunday, via a post on his Facebook page, that the international community support "The Palestinian people's legitimate aspirations for independence and freedom."
He said Cairo will step up its efforts to rally support for the bid.
Also on Thursday, Abbas spoke with US President Barack Obama on the phone, detailing the reasons why the PA is pursuing its bid despite the Washington's opposition.
According to Rudeina, Obama reiterated the US' objection to the move.
You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet's Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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