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Abbas: UN recognition last chance for peace

Nov. 29, 2012 10:53 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 1, 2012 9:00 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday told the UN General Assembly that Palestine's bid for "observer state" status is the last chance to save the two-state solution.

"Sixty-five years ago on this day, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181, which partitioned the land of historic Palestine into two states and became the birth certificate for Israel," Abbas told the 193-nation assembly after receiving a standing ovation.

"The General Assembly is called upon today to issue a birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine," he said.

Abbas appealed to the UN General Assembly to recognize Palestinian statehood by supporting a resolution to upgrade the UN observer status of the Palestinian Authority from "entity" to "non-member state."

The president told the UN that Israel's war on Gaza highlighted the urgency of ending the Israeli occupation.

"It also reaffirmed the Israeli government's adherence to the policy of occupation, brute force and war," he said.

"We believe that the international community is standing before the last chance of the two-state solution."

Flood of threats

Referring to the 1948 Nakba, when hundreds of thousand of Palestinians were expelled from their homes and fled to refugee camp, Abbas said Palestinians had looked to the UN to reinstate their rights. "And that's why we're here now," the president said.

"We've listened for the last months to the incessant flood of threats in response to our peaceful, political and diplomatic request in the UN and have watched (Israel's) war on Gaza. We haven't heard one word from any Israeli official expressing sincere concern for the peace process."

He added: "There was no need for thousands of deadly raids and tons of explosives for the world to be reminded there is an occupation that must come to an end."

"We are not here to delegitimize a state establish years ago, and that is Israel. Rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of a state that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine."

Peaceful resistance

Abbas pledged that Palestinians would continue to seek a just peace. "I reaffirm our people will not give up on their inalienable rights ... they will continue their popular, peaceful resistance."

"We will not agree on less than an independent Palestinian state on all the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital. I don't think this is terrorism."

"The world has to answer a specific question we have often repeated. Are we a surplus people in our region?"

International support for the resolution to upgrade Palestine's UN status "will send the message that justice is possible, there is reason to be hopeful."

"Your support will assert to our people that they are not alone, and their adherence to international law is never going to be a losing proposition," he said.

Palestinians held rallies across the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Thursday in support of the bid.

Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu immediately condemned Abbas' speech as "hostile and poisonous", and full of "false propaganda".

"These are not the words of a man who wants peace," Netanyahu also said in a statement released by his office after Abbas spoke.

The move falls short of full UN membership which needs sanction by the Security Council, where the US wields a veto. But it allows Palestine access to the International Criminal Court and other international bodies.

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