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27 Sep, 2012 20:49

Abbas: Palestine must have non-member UN status

Palestine is seeking to upgrade its UN status to nonmember state as a step towards being recognized as a sovereign country, President Mahmoud Abbas told the UN General Assembly. He renounced Israeli “terrorism” and promoted the two-state solution.

In his address to the UN General Assembly, Abbas called for Palestine to be considered a non-member observer state. “We do not seek to delegitimize an existing state, that is Israel; but rather to assert the state that must be realized – that is Palestine,” he said. He declared that “intensive consultations with the various regional organizations and state members” were underway. Palestinian officials confirmed their bid is likely to be submitted on November 29th. This follows last year’s unsuccessful bid by Palestine, when the UN Security Council failed to admit it as a full member state. Abbas also warned of the catastrophic danger posed to Palestine by the “racist settlement of [the] country.” “Attacks by Israeli terrorist militias have become a daily reality, with at least 535 attacks perpetrated since the beginning of this year,” Abbas continued, accusing Tel Aviv of conducting a “campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people.” He noted that the construction of illegal Jewish settlements has continued “throughout the West Bank,” and that raids and attacks continue “against our people in the Gaza Strip.” Israel’s policy is weakening the Palestinian National Authority and “undermining its ability to carry out its functions and to implement its obligations,” Abbas said. He added that Israel has not let up its occupation of East Jerusalem and continues to annex large areas of Palestinian territory that are already under Israeli occupation. But he also held out an olive branch to Israel, saying “We in the name of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the sole representative of the Palestinian people, reaffirm that we are committed to non-violence and that we are committed and reject terrorism in all its forms.” Abbas called upon the UN Security Council to urgently adopt a resolution “comprising the basis and foundations for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that would serve as a binding reference if the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, is to survive.”  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking after Abbas, responded only by calling the Palestinian leader's speech "libelous.”