September 23rd, 2011
12:14 PM ET

Palestinians' application for full U.N. membership submitted

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has handed the Palestinian application for statehood to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, according to a United Nations statement.

Abbas later spoke Friday afternoon at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. Below are updates on what Abbas said:

[Updated at 12:57 p.m. ET] Abbas said the Palestinians' application for full U.N. membership asks for Israel to return to its 1967 boundaries. He also appealed to "states that have not recognized the state of Palestine to do so."

The United States has pledged to veto the application should a vote occur in the body's Security Council. The United States would not be able to veto any Palestinian effort to go before the General Assembly, rather than the Security Council, to gain a lesser-than-full-member status: that of "permanent observer state."

Abbas also called for Israeli-held "prisoners of conscience" to be released.

[Updated at 12:48 p.m. ET] Abbas said his submission of a bid for statehood at the U.N. reflects "a moment of truth."

"Our people are waiting to hear the answer of the world," he told the U.N. General Assembly, adding that Israeli policies have been able to operate "above the law."

[Updated at 12:44 p.m. ET] Abbas said: "We extend our hand to the Israeli government and the Israeli people for peacemaking."

"Let us build bridges of dialogue instead of checkpoints and walls of separation," he told the U.N. General Assembly.

[Updated at 12:39 p.m. ET] Abbas said the Palestinians were ready to return to the negotiating table with Israel, provided Israel cease expansion efforts, among other concerns.

Israel has called for a return to negotiations with no preconditions.

Abbas blamed Israel for the decades-old conflict, saying the country's policies have been "aimed to entrench occupation," rather than forge a lasting peace.

"We decided to adopt the path of relative justice," he told the United Nations General Assembly, saying East Jerusalem is Palestinians' rightful capital.

Quoting historic references, Abbas said each time negotiations have gotten underway, talks have been "shattered" by Israeli expansionism.

[Updated at 12:36 p.m. ET] Abbas called Israel an occupying power "that threatens our holy places."

He told members of the U.N. General Assembly that Israel is in a "race against time to redraw the borders," and it that harms the lives of tens of thousands of Palestinian families.

Abbas added: "We now face the imposition of new conditions that have not previously been raised."

The United States has vowed to block a Palestinian U.N. membership application should it reach the U.N. Security Council.  The Obama administration has expressed concern that Palestinian action at the United Nations could intensify conditions on the ground and delay already stalled negotiations with Israel.

A successful vote would not lead to an established Palestinian state with defined borders, but it would afford the Palestinian government an upgraded international status, allowing them to pursue legal actions against Israel.

The Palestinians currently hold the status of a permanent observer entity. As an observer, the delegation can speak in the General Assembly but not vote.

If going to the Security Council doesn't work, the Palestinians could appeal to the General Assembly, where only a majority vote would be needed, to gain a lesser status. That would be of a permanent observer state, similar to the position that the Vatican holds. A vote in its favor would be all but assured.

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Filed under: Israel • Palestinians • United Nations
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. j

    Kind of funny that what the nazi's did to the Jews, is similar in some sense to what the Jews are doing to the Palestinians.

    September 24, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • J. Herman

      That is totally ridiculous........Israel has been attacked from all borders since the day it was founded. Should they just let it happen? Never again.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. J. Herman

    Listening to interview with Turkey's Prime Minister....on CNN – typical one-sided view of the world and "evil Israel". Disturbing that the interviewer neither challenges or discusses the commments....just lets the Prime Minister show his bias toward Israel...unchecked. For example, Israel has to prove how many of their people were "really" fatally injured by attacks by the Palestinians......give me a break. Next I'll be hearing the the holocast never happened....we need proof. American news is in scary shape....why do my tax dollars have to pay for this man to bash my the U.S.

    September 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. FamilyGuy

    J is right, there are way too may similarities in tactics that a comparison is the logical conclusion. Check points, heavy handed responses, there are tons of archival footage to show the brutal treatment of women, children and the elderly. Ask yourself does the response fit the situation. Jews should protect themselves, but they should also protect their righteous
    indignation, hard to do when when children and the meek receive the same treatment as the perpetrators.

    October 17, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bizzo

    "The United States has pledged to veto the application should a vote occur in the body's Security Council." There are still Americans that think that 3rd world countries hate them for THEIR freedom.

    October 31, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
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