United Nations Opens Debate on Palestinian Statehood

Posted November 29th, 2012 at 5:50 pm (UTC-5)
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The United Nations has opened its debate on a bid by the Palestinian Authority to secure a diplomatic upgrade that would change its status to that of an observer state.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas addressed the General Assembly Thursday ahead of what is expected to be successful bid.

Mr. Abbas said the vote on raising U.N. status for the Palestinians is the last chance to save a two-state solution. The Palestinian leader said the world must tell Israel “enough aggression, settlements and occupation.” He said the U.N. assembly “is being asked today to issue the birth certificate of Palestine.”

Following Mr. Abbas' remarks, Israel's U.N. ambassador Ron Prosor called the resolution “so one-sided it doesn't advance peace, it pushes it backward.” He said those supporting the resolution are not advancing peace, but instead undermining it.

The 193-member General Assembly is expected to approve the diplomatic upgrade, as several European nations, including Spain, Denmark and Switzerland, expressed their support for the measure earlier in the day.

If granted, the move likely would assure the Palestinian Authority access to key U.N. agencies, like the International Criminal Court.

Several other countries, including the United States and Germany, say they will not support the Palestinian bid. Several U.S. lawmakers have threatened to cut aid to the Palestinians if they use their increased status against Israel.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague told lawmakers Britain would consider embracing the request, but only if the Palestinian Authority could give him some key assurances – including pledges to return to negotiations with Israel and to not pursue its grievances with Israel in international courts.