Abbas says UN bid not meant to isolate US, Israel 28Aug11 August 28, 2011

Ma’an News Agency  -  27 August 2011

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinian bid to seek recognition of statehood from the UN Security Council is not aimed to isolate Israel or confront the US, but rather to “realize our dream” of statehood.

The Palestinians’ goal, Abbas says, is “obtaining recognition of our Palestinian state with full sovereignty on the territories occupied in 1967, and obtaining full membership in the UN.”

Speaking to religious leaders Saturday, Abbas said that once a Palestinian state is recognized, that will lay the foundations for peace, coexistence, and justice to replace oppression and aggression.

“Thus, we bring to an end this conflict and this occupation, which is the longest in modern history,” Abbas was quoted as saying by the PA’s official news agency Wafa.

The president highlighted in his speech that Israeli settlements and their ongoing expansion was turning the Palestinian land into separate cantons which would end any dream of having a contiguous state.

Settlements are destroying the Palestinians’ dream to have a state like all other peoples, Abbas added.

Abbas’ remarks came as the US and PA bickered over statements attributed to the US consul-general Daniel Rubinstein, who was quoted as saying the US Congress would cut aid if the Palestinians went to the UN.

American lawmakers will take punitive measures, “including cutting US aid,” if the Palestinians try to upgrade their position, a statement from the office of PLO official Saeb Erekat said Friday.

The US consulate in Jerusalem denied Erekat’s account of the meeting in Jericho on Friday and said Rubinstein did not make the comments attributed to him.

In response to the reports, senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath said the Palestinian leadership would submit a bid for full membership of the United Nations despite US threats.

“Washington’s attitude reflects complete partiality with Israel,” Shaath said in Moscow.

He said President Barack Obama’s administration had been “blackmailed” by American lawmakers and retracted its pledges and commitments to the Palestinians.

But Palestinian leaders are not influenced by the threats and will pursue the campaign as planned, he added.

Following the collapse of negotiations with Israel, the Palestinians are pursuing a diplomatic strategy to seek statehood recognition and full membership of the United Nations in September.

Israel and the US strongly oppose the UN campaign.

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