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Report: Abbas to propose peace talks after UN vote

Oct. 10, 2012 11:22 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 11, 2012 8:23 P.M.)
NEW YORK (Ma'an) -- President Abbas told European diplomats on Tuesday that he will resume peace talks with Israel after a UN vote on the Palestinian request for non-member status in the world body, The Associated Press reported.

Abbas believes that a freeze on illegal settlement building may not be necessary to engage in talks if the UN recognizes a Palestinian state which includes all of the West Bank, AP reported.

Last Wednesday, the president of the 193-member UN General Assembly said that a debate on whether to upgrade the Palestinian UN status to a sovereign country would likely take place in mid-November.

The Palestinians' current UN status is an "observer entity." If the vote is successful it would change to "observer state."

Abbas told the UN General Assembly in September that "the Israeli occupation remains the only obstacle to the realization of the State of Palestine."

During his Sept. 27 address, Abbas slammed Israeli policies of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem and condemned violence by "terrorist militias of Israeli settlers" which he said had become a daily reality.

He said settler violence was an "inherent byproduct" of occupation, racist incitement and a government policy "that deliberately fosters the settlements and settlers and deems their satisfaction to be an absolute priority."

Upgraded status for a Palestinian state could be uncomfortable for Israel. Being registered as a state rather than an entity would mean the Palestinians could join bodies such as the International Criminal Court and file a raft of complaints against Israel for its continued occupation.

There have been no direct Palestinian talks with Israel on peace since 2010, when the Palestinians refused to resume negotiations unless the Israeli government suspended settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In September, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the two-state solution was the only sustainable option for peace. But he said the continued growth of Israeli settlements meant that "the door may be closing, for good."

Reuters contributed to this report
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