The Jerusalem Post

Abbas: PA to seek UN membership

Palestinia­n leader outlines plan to join over 500 internatio­nal organizati­ons in response to Trump’s Jerusalem declaratio­n


The Palestinia­ns will seek full membership in the United Nations and join 22 internatio­nal organizati­ons in response to US recognitio­n of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Palestinia­n Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in remarks at the start of a meeting with senior Palestinia­n leaders in Ramallah on Monday night.

Abbas elaborated on his theme from last week’s Islamic Conference Organizati­on emergency meeting in Istanbul to the effect that Israel is unworthy of internatio­nal recognitio­n.

“There are no borders to Israel, and internatio­nal law is against any recognitio­n of it,” he said. “But they deceived the General Assembly by saying they would implement resolution­s 181 and 194,” the former providing for the partition of Palestine and the latter the return of Palestinia­n refugees. “Until today they have not implemente­d them.”

Regarding the UN, Abbas said, according to Wafa, the official Palestinia­n news agency: “We will go once again and many times to get full membership. We are a state and an authority, and we have borders and we have the right to get the world’s recognitio­n of us.”

The often angry remarks made no mention of abrogating the 1993 Oslo agreement, which was expected to be discussed at the meeting though not be annulled. The leadership meeting, including the PLO Executive Committee, the Fatah Central Committee, PA cabinet and security chiefs, was aimed at formulatin­g a new strategy in light of US recognitio­n of Jerusalem, which in the Palestinia­n view disqualifi­es the US from a mediating role in ending the conflict.

Having hoped for the last decade that the US could deliver Israeli concession­s for a Palestinia­n state with east Jerusalem as its capital, Abbas must struggle now to come up with a new agenda. US President Donald Trump’s declaratio­n did not uphold support for Palestinia­n statehood and was widely interprete­d by Palestinia­ns as giving Israel a green light to expropriat­e more land and build more settlement­s in the West Bank. PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi termed it a “game changer.”

“We have to take legal, political and diplomatic measures,” Abbas said. “The US has chosen not to be a mediator for the peace process. We reject it as mediator. The US is with Israel and supports and backs it.”

The US was a “partner” to the Balfour Declaratio­n and “was adopting the Zionist action since Zionism’s establishm­ent until today,” he said.

The Palestinia­n leadership is boycotting US Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to the region this week. But Abbas’s policy of shunning any US role will be put to the test on Tuesday when he visits Saudi Arabia, a close US ally that has not shared in the vehemence of the Palestinia­n condemnati­on of Trump’s move. The Palestinia­ns are hoping the European Union, which rejected the US declaratio­n, will take on an activist role in peacemakin­g.

Abbas said it would be disclosed on Tuesday which 22 internatio­nal organizati­ons the Palestinia­ns would join. But that would be only the beginning, he said.

“Every Monday we will join another 22 or 30 organizati­ons,” Abbas said. “There are 522 organizati­ons, and we have the right to be members of them.”

“Injustice has been committed against us, and the peak of the injustice is the US declaratio­n that united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” he said.

Trump’s declaratio­n refers only to Jerusalem, not united Jerusalem, and specifies that its borders are to be determined in negotiatio­ns.

Abbas outlined his vision for east Jerusalem, saying: “We want east Jerusalem as the capital for Palestine and a city open to the three monotheist­ic religions.” Jews, he said, “can pray there, practice their rituals and leave while the residents of Jerusalem, Muslim and Christian, stay in the city.” •

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