By Sean Hart, Reporter
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas submitted an application for United Nations membership to the U.N. Security Council Friday, September twenty-third, according to Associated Press. Any vote for membership will likely be vetoed by the U.S.
Abbas also went before the U.N. General Assembly and gave a “Fiery anti-Israel speech”, accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing, says Ynetnews.com. The speech was received with thunderous applause.
Abbas said in his address:
“Israel issues building permits to settlers so they can build in occupied Jerusalem, while it keeps confiscating lands in eastern Jerusalem and driving away Palestinians from their ancestral lands.”
“Now, after the Arab springs emphasized their desire for liberty, it’s time for a Palestinian spring – the moment of independence. I do not believe that anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for a full membership in the United Nations and our admission as an independent state,”
“Our people will continue their popular, peaceful resistance,” Abbas declared, slamming Israel’s settlement policy. “This settlement policy will destroy the chances of achieving a two-state solution and … threatens to undermine the structure of the Palestinian National Authority and even end its existence.”
“Sixty-three years after the Nakba, I say enough, enough, enough,” Abbas said. “It’s time for the Palestinian people to get their liberty, and for the suffering of millions of Palestinian refugees to end.”
Abbas said that the Palestinians “extend our hands to the Israeli government and the Israeli people.”
Shortly before the meeting Abbas told 200 senior representatives of Palestinians in the U.S. that he would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
“They talk to us about the Jewish state, but I respond to them with a final answer: We shall not recognize a Jewish state,” Abbas spat.
Shortly after President Abbas’ speech Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the General Assembly, according to the Weekly Standard.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago. On behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, I extend that hand again today. I extend it to the people of Egypt and Jordan, with renewed friendship for neighbors with whom we have made peace. I extend it to the people of Turkey, with respect and good will. I extend it to the people of Libya and Tunisia, with admiration for those trying to build a democratic future. I extend it to the other peoples of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, with whom we want to forge a new beginning. I extend it to the people of Syria, Lebanon and Iran, with awe at the courage of those fighting brutal repression.
But most especially, I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace.”
In his speech Netanyahu explained Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories as an act of self-defense.
“Now the theory says it should all work out, and President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority now could build a peaceful state in Gaza. You can remember that the entire world applauded. They applauded our withdrawal as an act of great statesmanship. It was a bold act of peace.
But ladies and gentlemen, we didn’t get peace. We got war. We got Iran, which through its proxy Hamas promptly kicked out the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority collapsed in a day — in one day.
President Abbas just said on this podium that the Palestinians are armed only with their hopes and dreams. Yeah, hopes, dreams and 10,000 missiles and Grad rockets supplied by Iran, not to mention the river of lethal weapons now flowing into Gaza from the Sinai, from Libya, and from elsewhere.
Thousands of missiles have already rained down on our cities. So you might understand that, given all this,Israelis rightly ask: What’s to prevent this from happening again in the West Bank? See, most of our major cities in the south of the country are within a few dozen kilometers from Gaza. But in the center of the country, opposite the West Bank, our cities are a few hundred meters or at most a few kilometers away from the edge of the West Bank.
“So I want to ask you. Would any of you — would any of you bring danger so close to your cities, to your families? Would you act so recklessly with the lives of your citizens? Israel is prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank, but we’re not prepared to have another Gaza there. And that’s why we need to have real security arrangements, which the Palestinians simply refuse to negotiate with us.”
Associated Press also points out that any U.N. recognition won’t bring any changes to the current situation: Israel will still occupy the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. They also pointed out that any deliberations regarding Palestinian statehood and U.N. membership could take weeks or months.
Tony Blair, Middle-east envoy for the U.S., E.U., U.N. and Russia said that Palestine’s U.N. bid must be followed-up by peace negotiations.
“You can pass whatever resolution you like at the United Nations, or at the Security Council, and it doesn’t actually deliver you a state,” Blair told BBC Radio. “And if you don’t have a negotiation, whatever you do at the U.N. is going to be deeply confrontational.”
By Sean Hart, Copy Editor
According to The Telegraph, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has declared that he will petition the United Nations Security Council for formal recognition of statehood and U.N. membership for Palestine. President Abbas is scheduled to address the Security Council Sept. 23.
The United States has stated they will veto any vote on the issue in the U.N. Security Council. If the vote is vetoed by the Security Council (which has the authority to grant U.N. membership) Abbas will go to the General Assembly where the U.S. has no veto ability. The General Assembly can only grant observer status, not full membership. The move would still achieve statehood.
President Abbas claims the bid for statehood isn’t a move to undermine peace talks between Palestine and Israel but rather to put them on equal grounds. “Our first, second and third priority is negotiations,” Abbas said. “There is no other way to solve this. No matter what happens at the United Nations, we have to return to negotiations.”A
Palestinian state would be used to gain leverage over Israel and isolate them, as well as fostering a proxy war involving the whole of the Middle-east.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the bid for U.N. recognition would “set back peace, and might set it back for years.” Israeli officials argue that “recognition of a Palestinian state could irreparably damage peace talks.”
Palestine’s top diplomat Maen Areikat said in an interview with Politico reporters Josh Gerstein and Tim Mak that the Palestinian state should be free of Jews. “I still believe – I personally still believe that as a first step we need to be totally separated and we can contemplate these issues in the future.” Areikat added: “Listen, again, we have nothing against Jews. This is a political conflict. Once the political issue is resolved every Palestinian should be welcomed in Israel. Every Israeli should be welcome in Palestine. But under the current circumstances — an occupation power occupying a people against their will — this is something we are trying to end.”
According to Professor Nadav Safran, former director of Harvard’s Center for Middle-eastern Studies, since 1948 the Israelis and Palestinians have been locked in a daily struggle of gruesome attrition that shows no sign of ending. Palestinian militants (who are supported by the Palestinian authorities) are constantly launching malicious rocket attacks on Israeli border towns, causing horrific casualties.
In 1947 the U.N. mandated a plan for both an Israeli and Palestinian state in the region, but it was rejected by the Palestinians, who were enraged by the presence of the Israelis. Over the last 53 years there have been various peace proposals between the bouts of bloodshed that one side or the other has rejected, citing irreconcilable differences such as territory lines and the occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank by Israel. Both the aforementioned territories are populated and claimed by the Palestinians.
When asked about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Librarian Leana Cox said she “wishes we could all just get along and live together side-by-side.” and that “we are all brothers and sisters, all one being, human being(s).” She added that the Palestine region is “A Holy Land for all of use, we should all be able to go.” Palestine is traditionally considered a Holy Land by Jews, Christians and Muslims.
When asked, Leana didn’t see the Israelis and Palestinians achieving peace anytime in the foreseeable future.
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