BY ELIOR LEVY, YNET—
The Palestinian leadership officially announced Sunday it will turn to the UN for recognition of an independent state in September. The decision was made after a meeting convened by President Mahoud Abbas in his Ramallah headquarters.
PLO Executive Committee chief Yasser Abed Rabbo declared that the move is aimed at protecting the Palestinian people and their legal leadership, as well as achieving a just peace that will see an independent Palestinian state committed to international decisions.
The leaders called on the world to endorse a move “that will boost efforts to continue real negotiations.” It was also stressed that the step does not counter any willingness to negotiate and is based on the Arab peace initiative, Quartet decisions and US President Barack Obama’s statements.
The PA called on Arab states to reinforce their support as “the Netanyahu government insists on ruining every opportunity to return to the negotiating table.”
The Palestinians also called on the international community to continue investing funds in the PA, which they said is suffering from an acute financial deficit.
They noted the repositioning of the fence in Bilin, describing it as a Palestinian achievement and an example that popular protest is effective against the expansion of settlements. Abbas also called on the world to intervene in the face of Israel’s plan to aggravate the confinement conditions of Palestinian prisoners.
During the meeting Abbas said: “I say that if negotiations have failed we will go to the United Nations for membership.”
“Until now there have been no new incentives to return to negotiations,” he said.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said that granting UN membership to a Palestinian state could actually help bring the sides back to the negotiating table.
“We do not think that there is a contradiction between the two demands,” he told AFP. “This measure is inevitable if (the international community) wants to preserve the peace process.
Abbas indicated on Sunday he was not giving up on reconciliation and would be prepared to go to the Gaza Strip.
“For a long time I said I would go to Gaza, and now I say I am still determined to go to Gaza and it will be a surprise for all,” he said.