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Abbas: Israel trying to undermine Palestinian UN move

Nov. 16, 2012 9:45 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 20, 2012 12:50 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday accused Israel of launching an deadly assault on the Gaza Strip to undermine his efforts to secure a diplomatic upgrade at the United Nations.

Israel started an air offensive on Wednesday with the assassination of a Hamas commander. Medics say 28 Palestinians have been killed, and three Israelis died from rocket fire from Gaza.

"Everything that is happening is in order to block our endeavors to reach the United Nations," Abbas told journalists in Ramallah.

He pledged to continue with his plan for a vote in the UN General Assembly on Palestine joining as a non-member state.

Nothing will deter us from going to the UN, Abbas insisted.

The upgrade would enhance Palestinians' legal rights at a time when peace negotiations with Israel have hit a wall over Israel's refusal to halt settlement building in territory where the Palestinians want their state.

"Israel should realize that without peace, no one will feel safe," Abbas said in his address. The president has offered to return to peace talks with Israel after the UN bid is submitted.

Abbas, whose forces were chased out of Gaza by Hamas in 2007, accused Israel of instigating a "blood bath," and said the attacks were against all Palestinians.

"All of us are Palestinians, and all of us should work to implement national reconciliation. The time is right," he said.

Abbas said he has asked Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi to visit the enclave on Saturday and Sunday. He called on the regional body to send a delegation of foreign ministers, including the Palestinian Authority minister, to visit Gaza.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil visited Gaza on Friday in a demonstration of solidarity with Gaza. Abbas said he welcome the visit in conversations with the Egyptian president.

Reuters contributed to this report
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