Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday urged UN member states to vote for a resolution due in September recognizing Palestine according to its 1967 borders, arguing the proposal was no diplomatic "stunt."
In an opinion peace published in The New York Times, Abbas answered critics who argue that recognition of the Palestinian state by the UN General Assembly would have little meaning if Israel is no party to it, DPA reported.
"Many are questioning what value there is to such recognition while the Israeli occupation continues. Others have accused us of imperilling the peace process," Abbas wrote.
"We believe, however, that there is tremendous value for all Palestinians."
Recognition would internationalize and change the legal status of the conflict. It would also allow the Palestinians to pursue claims against Israel at international bodies, including the International Court of Justice, he said.
"Our quest for recognition as a state should not be seen as a stunt; too many of our men and women have been lost for us to engage in such political theatre," he wrote. The Palestinians had been negotiating with Israel for 20 years "without coming any closer to realizing a state of our own."
"We cannot wait indefinitely while Israel continues to send more settlers to the occupied West Bank," he said, adding neither political pressure nor promises of rewards by the United States had stopped Israeli settlement expansion.
The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the
European Union have already declared the Palestinians "prepared for statehood," he noted. Only the occupation stood in the way, but should not "impede United Nations recognition."
Once admitted to the UN, Palestine would negotiate all core issues of the conflict with Israel, but not as a "vanquished" underdog, but rather "from the position of one United Nations member whose territory is militarily occupied by another."
A key focus of negotiations will be reaching a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees.
"We call on all friendly, peace-loving nations to join us in realizing our national aspirations by recognizing the State of Palestine on the 1967 border," Abbas concluded.
In the Six Day War of that year, Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt.