Palestinian UN bid not an alternative to negotiations, Abbas says
The Palestinian bid to gain UN recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders in September is not an alternative to negotiations, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday, dpa reported.
Negotiations remained the Palestinians' "first, second and third choice," he told the opening session of a two-day meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Central Council in Ramallah.
"Whether we succeed in our efforts at the UN or not," he said, "this will not be an alternative to negotiations."
Abbas said a special Arab League committee would convene on August 4 to lay out plans for approaching the United Nations Security Council and its secretary general with a request for accepting Palestine within the June 4, 1967 borders as a full member of the UN.
"We have 122 countries supporting our bid," he said. "Our focus now is to get more support through meetings and consultations."
The Palestinians need support from two-thirds of the UN member states to get a resolution passed supporting their bid at the General Assembly when it convenes in September. However, the resolution has to first pass through the Security Council, where it is expected to be opposed by the United States.
Abbas criticized US and Israeli accusations that by seeking UN recognition of statehood in September the Palestinians are carrying out a unilateral act.
"This is not a unilateral act," he said. "The unilateral act is Israel's stealing and selling our land," he said, charging that Israel's claim that it keeps most of the West Bank area under its control as a security requirement is "a lie to justify stealing the land."
The Central Council, the second highest decision-making body in the Palestine Liberation Organization, was convened to discuss and approve Palestinian steps to approach the UN. It is expected to endorse Abbas' efforts, thus giving him the legal basis to proceed.