The Palestinian president announced Friday that he would seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the Security Council of the United Nations next week, a move strongly opposed by Israel and the United States and adding significant tension to one of the most intractable conflicts in the Middle East.
The announcement by the president, Mahmoud Abbas, in a televised speech delivered at his headquarters in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, was the first time he has formally committed to such a strategy, which Palestinian officials have been moving toward for months as their frustration over stalled peace talks with Israel has intensified. American, Israeli and European diplomats have struggled to dissuade Mr. Abbas and his aides from taking such a step.
“We need to have full membership at the U.N.,” Mr. Abbas said in the speech, which was broadcast live on Al Jazeera and other outlets. “We need a state, a seat at the United Nations and nothing more.”
The United States has said it would use its veto power at the Security Council to stop any Palestinian statehood bid, adhering to the American-Israeli view that the only way to achieve peace is through direct talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Each side maintains that the other presents the obstacles to negotiations.
A veto of the Palestinian bid for membership will serve as another blow to American credibility, as the Obama administration tries to place itself on the side of protesters across the Arab world seeking freedom, justice and a notion of dignity. For many in the region, the plight of Palestinians, under more than four decades of occupation, encapsulates those ideals.— The New York Times, “Abbas Says He Will Seek Palestinian State at Security Council” (via inothernews)