Palestine to press for UN vote on full statehood ‘as soon as possible’
President Mahmoud Abbas returns to Ramallah and declares to cheering crowds that the ‘Palestinian Spring’ has begun
The Palestinian leadership is to press for a vote as soon as possible on its demand for full statehood at the United Nations security council as President Mahmoud Abbas returned to Ramallah to declare before cheering crowds that the “Palestinian Spring” had begun.
The 15-member security council is due to begin considering the Palestinian request on Monday amid rising tensions in the West Bank following the shooting dead of a Palestinian villager by Israeli soldiers and the death of a Jewish settler and his son in a car crash that police said was probably caused by rock-throwing. Fresh confrontations erupted on Sunday night when settlers marched through a Palestinian village ahead of the father and son’s funeral.
The security council’s deliberations, which could drag on for months, will run alongside efforts to get the two sides back to negotiations within a timetable set out by the Middle East Quartet – the US, UN, European Union and Russia – on Friday.
The Quartet proposed an initial meeting between the parties within a month, comprehensive proposals on territory and security within three months, and an agreement no later than the end of 2012. Its statement made no overt reference to a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders or a freeze on Israeli settlement expansion. Abbas and his ministers were due to consider the Quartet’s proposal after a rousing reception in Ramallah. The president’s stock among Palestinians has risen markedly over recent weeks as he has refused to bend to international pressure to withdraw the statehood bid.
In an interview with an Arabic newspaper, he said: “The Palestinians cannot negotiate any proposal that is not based on 1967 borders and does not ensure a settlement freeze in the West Bank.” Netanyahu, who is due to fly back to Israel on Sunday night, was due to meet senior cabinet ministers to discuss the Quartet statement on Monday.
His extreme rightwing foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who walked out of Abbas’s speech at the UN, said there would be “tough repercussions” if the world body backed the Palestinian move. “That would bring us to an altogether new situation and this would have repercussions, tough repercussions,” Lieberman told Israel Radio. “Any unilateral step will without a doubt bring an Israeli reaction.”
He did not spell out what punitive measures Israel might take but he and other ministers have called for the Oslo accords to be revoked, Palestinian tax revenues collected by Israel to be withheld and West Bank settlements to be annexed.
Dozens of Jewish settlers uprooted or damaged more than 400 olive trees in fields near Qusra, a West Bank village where a Palestinian father of eight was shot dead by Israeli soldiers on Friday, according to the Palestinian Authority.
“This attack is not isolated and comes amid a series of cruel assaults against people, land and trees,” they said in a statement which accused settlers of “systematic provocation”.
- Palestine to press for UN vote on full statehood ‘as soon as possible’ (guardian.co.uk)
- Mahmoud Abbas makes triumphant return to Ramallah (telegraph.co.uk)
- Netanyahu and Obama Spurn Peace (ikners.com)
- Palestinians greet Abbas as hero after UN statehood bid (rt.com)
- Abbas Says ‘Long Journey’ Lies Ahead for Palestinian State (businessweek.com)
- With UN bid, Abbas emerges from Arafat’s shadow (ctv.ca)
- Mahmoud Abbas Returns To West Bank From UN, Says ‘Palestinian Spring’ Has Begun (huffingtonpost.com)
- Abbas declares ‘Palestinian Spring’ after historic UN trip (thestar.com)
- Palestinians Give Abbas a Hero’s Welcome (nytimes.com)
- Mahmoud Abbas tells UN: It is time for Palestinians to gain freedom (telegraph.co.uk)
- President Abbas Declares ‘Palestinian Spring’ in Return to Middle East (foxnews.com)
- A view on how the US may think it is buying time, but playing into a corner (ikners.com)
- In return to West Bank, Abbas declares ‘Palestinian Spring’ has been born (theglobeandmail.com)
- Palestine bids for statehood with UN (rt.com)
- Peace No Closer as Netanyahu, Abbas Emerge Unscathed From UN – BusinessWeek (news.google.com)