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8 Sep, 2011 13:21

Palestine in run-up to statehood

Palestinians handed over a letter to the local UN mission in Ramallah, saying they start peaceful demonstrations, which are to continue until the autonomy becomes a member state in the UN’s vote on September 20.

The letter was submitted to UN chief Ban Ki-moon in a ceremony attended by a hundred of Palestinian officials and national activists. The Palestinians urge Ban Ki-moon to add his "moral voice in support of the Palestinian people," quotes the Guardian newspaper. The Palestinian campaign, says the letter, will include a series of peaceful events "in various international cities and capitals" leading to the opening of the UN general assembly in September. The promotion has been dubbed as a national campaign for “Palestine, State 194.”In a symbolic move, the person chosen to for the actual handover, was a 70-year-old Palestinian woman, a resident of a West Bank refugee camp, who has one son killed in clashes with Israel and seven others jailed in Israel over terrorism accusations. This news comes a day after the US urged the Palestine Autonomy to abandon their UN move to be recognized in its pre-1967 lines. The plea was rejected by Palestinian leader, Mahmud Abbas. Palestine is seeking to become the 194th UN member state in the borders of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem – so called 1967 borders. That year, Israel expanded to these territories in a six year war. Israel strongly objects returning to its 1967 maps.Meanwhile, Israel has started own preparations to the UN assembly in September. The Israeli army, anticipating the Palestinians to campaign once they gain their independence, has launched a program to train civilians for a possible mass Arab uprising or even a third intifada. The army has been distributing tear gas and stun grenades among local citizens and conducting “war games” for civilians.

Dr. Ron Pundak, the chairman of the Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum, hopes that after the Palestinians have addressed the UN General Assembly, Israel will be able to negotiate the two-state solution within 1967 borders. But the peace activist stresses that addressing the UN does not mean obtaining statehood.“What will happen in the UN is that the Palestinians will ask the entire world to recognize potentially that the Palestinian state will eventually be declared by them. They say they will declare negotiations. I presume the recognition will take place. The US might go against it, but they cannot veto it,” Dr. Pundak told RT.