Palestinians to apply for UN status despite pressure: Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Ramallah: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Saturday stressed that a request for being made a non-member state would be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly this month despite pressure to cancel the bid.

Abbas, speaking during a news conference at his West Bank office, said: “At the United Nations, we want to say that we are a state under occupation … we already have 133 states recognizing Palestine with (East) Jerusalem as the capital,” Xinhua reported.

The pressure by the US aims to prevent the Palestinians from seeking the membership in the United Nations, but there are other “Arabs” who ceased their financial support to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in agreeing with the American position, he said.

The Obama administration wants the Palestinians to resume peace talks with Israel, which have been stalled since 2010 over a dispute on Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The lack of fiscal support, together with Israeli actions, resulted in the PNA’s inability to pay salaries to its employees this month, as well as the rising prices of fuel and other basic items in the West Bank.

Over the past few days, public protests broke out in the West Bank against the high living costs there, with observers seeing that Abbas’ Fatah party directing the protests against Salam Fayyad, the prime minister who is not a member of Fatah.

But Abbas Saturday supported Fayyad by saying that the US-educated economist “is part of the PNA and all of us, including me first, shoulder the responsibility”.

Meanwhile, Abbas slammed his rival Hamas party, which controls the Gaza Strip, for banning elections committee from operating there and so obstructing reconciliation. “There will be no dialogue without the Central Elections Commission working in Gaza, ” he said.

He also said that Hamas contributed to the PNA’s financial crisis by not sending taxes to the West Bank.

Hamas depends mainly on smuggling tunnels beneath Gaza’s southern borders with Egypt, and Abbas said that these tunnels created up to 1,000 tycoons in the coastal enclave. Israel imposed a blockade on the territory since Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces and took over the area in 2007.

Abbas also indirectly criticized Egypt as its President Mohamed Morsi received Hamas’ Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Cairo in June. “Whoever receives Haniyeh as a prime minister helps the split,” Abbas said of the man he fired when Hamas wrested control of Gaza.

Morsi and Haniyeh share similar Islamic roots as Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.


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