Palestinian President To Seek Full UN Membership, Calls for Protests

Posted July 27th, 2011 at 3:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for peaceful protests to support a September bid for full membership in the United Nations for a Palestinian state.

Mr. Abbas met with the PLO Central Council Wednesday in the West Bank city of Ramallah to discuss the proposal to seek membership in the world body.

He urged what he called “popular resistance” against Israel to support the diplomatic push and said the protests would be peaceful.

The Palestinian president insisted that seeking U.N. membership is not a unilateral act and did not contradict a commitment to negotiations with Israel.

The Palestinian news agency WAFA said Mr. Abbas stressed that he plans to coordinate with the United States and Europe to avoid confrontation.

On Tuesday, the United States reiterated its willingness to use its veto in the U.N. Security Council against any unilateral Palestinian push for U.N. membership.

The U.S. is one of the council's five veto-wielding permanent members.

A U.S. envoy repeated Washington's stance Tuesday during a Security Council debate on the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

The Palestinian U.N. observer, Riyad Mansour, said that seeking recognition would not hurt the peace process but would strengthen efforts to achieve a two-state solution. He said his government cannot wait any longer for Israel to negotiate in good faith.

Israel's U.N. ambassador, Ron Prosor, urged Palestinians to return to direct negotiations. He said the split within the Palestinian leadership means even the most basic conditions for statehood – control over all its territory, and a monopoly on the use of force – do not exist.