Palestinians March for Statehood Recognition

Posted September 8th, 2011 at 2:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Palestinians have launched a series of public relations efforts for their bid to join the United Nations as a full member state, a day after U.S. envoys tried to persuade them to drop the bid.

About 100 Palestinian officials and activists marched Thursday to the U.N. office in Ramallah, where they presented a letter stating their intentions to a U.N. official. The letter is addressed to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and asks that he support the membership bid.

The Palestinians say they will hold a series of peaceful events ahead of the September 20th start of the U.N. General Assembly. A General Assembly vote in favor of Palestinian state membership would be largely symbolic, but could give Palestinians international support in their bid for an independent state.

They are expected to seek U.N. membership for a state based on boundaries that existed before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israel rejects a return to those lines.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the U.S. will veto a bid for U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state if it come to a vote before the Security Council. The U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia are permanent members of the Council with veto privileges.

On Wednesday, two U.S. envoys met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in an attempt to persuade him to return to U.S.-mediated talks with Israel instead of pursuing full U.N. membership.

After the talks, an aide to Mr. Abbas was quoted as saying differences between the two sides remain “wide.”

The talks between Israel and the Palestinians stalled a year ago after expiration of an Israeli moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank. Palestinians oppose Israeli construction on land that they want as part of a future state.