Israel Criticizes Palestinian Plan to Advance UN Statehood Bid

Posted August 13th, 2011 at 2:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Israel is calling a Palestinian decision to seek statehood recognition at the United Nations “expected but regrettable.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office released a statement on Saturday that says Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has “apparently decided to avoid direct negotiations” with Israel.

Earlier Saturday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said Mr. Abbas would submit the statehood bid to the U.N. in September.

Maliki told reporters in the West Bank he expected Palestinians to receive a boost from Lebanon, which will hold the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council next month.

Earlier, Mr. Abbas said he would lobby U.N. members to grant statehood based on the entire West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem — areas that Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war. But, the U.S., which has veto power in the Security Council, has indicated it will oppose the move.

The U.S.-brokered peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians stalled last September, after an Israeli moratorium on settlement building in the West Bank expired. Palestinians oppose construction on land that they want as part of a future state.