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The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters on Saturday that he expects the Palestinian application for full United Nations membership to be seriously considered by the Security Council members. At a speech to the General Assembly on Friday, Abbas pressed for the recognition of an independent Palestinian State alongside the Israeli State.
The Palestinian leader has been expressing his government’s desire to move forward on the matter of independence for some time, to the great irritation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The bid for statehood reflects Abbas’s lack of confidence in the US-sponsored peace talks after 20 years without tangible results, and he is now taking a diplomatic step without the oversight of the Israel-American alliance. Furthermore, the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied land that Palestinians hope to constitute their future state is another strong incentive for Abbas’s request to act now.
In an interview with the pan-Arab newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat, Mahmoud Abbas is quoted for saying that Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu is the ‘most inflexible Israeli leader he had ever known’. “With Rabin, Peres, Sharon, Olmert, and Livni, negotiations were possible,” Abbas stated according to Haaretz.com
In response to the Palestinian statehood bid, the so-called Mideast Quartet proposed an immediate restart of peace talks. The Quartet, which comprises the US, United Nations, the European Union and Russia, laid out a timeline for peace talks in which a final status agreement would be reached by December 2012, said Businessweek.com.
But the Palestinians are unlikely to accept the conditions of the proposal because it’s based on negotiations without specifying preconditions. “The Palestinians cannot negotiate any proposal that is not based on 1967 borders and does not ensure a settlement freeze in the West Bank,” said Mahmoud Abbas.
However, the president did not reject the idea of renewed direct negotiations but said he would need to consult his government in Ramallah.
In recent years, the Palestinian people have received growing sympathy from the world community as their objection to the occupation by Israel has moved from terrorist campaigns to nonviolent resistance. Especially in the West Bank has civil demonstrations secured the world’s focus on the plight of Palestinians as opposed to the negative imagery of suicide bombers.
Foreign governments and powerful NGOs have been monumental in the organization of for example “the ‘Nakba’ and ‘Naksa’ day border marches, the weekly Bil’in and Na’lin security fence protests, and, perhaps the most prominent example, the Gaza Flotilla movement,” wrote Daniel Nisman, an Argov Fellow for leadership and Diplomacy at the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel for The Jerusalem Post.
This development has placed the Israeli government in a tough spot. Recently they were criticized by the UN for using ‘excessive and unreasonable’ violence during the 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla and more importantly, with the rise of non-violent movements in the West Bank, the Israeli argument against Palestinian statehood loses credibility.
Speaking of which, the Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman warned that the Palestinian application would “bring us to an altogether new situation and this would have repercussions, severe repercussions,” according to Businessweek.com. Who the recipient of these repercussions will be was unclear.
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