Abbas to Obama: We Will Push for Statehood

Palestinian Leader Explains Campaign for Recognition

getty images

By Reuters

Published November 11, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday that he was intent on seeking a Palestinian upgrade at the United Nations despite American objections, a Palestinian official said.

Abbas spoke to Obama in a phone conversation to explain his decision, said Nabil Abu Rdaineh, an aide to the Palestinian president.

On Wednesday, the Western-backed Palestinian Authority circulated a draft resolution to U.N. member states that calls for upgrading its U.N. status to that of observer state, despite objections by the United States and Israel.

“President Abbas cited the reasons and motives for the Palestinian decision to seek non-member statehood as continued Israeli settlement activity and the continued attacks on Palestinians and their property,” Abu Rdaineh said.

“Obama informed President Abbas of U.S. opposition to the bid,” he added.

The Palestinians are currently considered an observer “entity” at the United Nations. Upgrading them to a non-member state, similar to the Vatican’s U.N. status, would implicitly recognise Palestinian statehood.

It could also grant them access to bodies such as the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where they could file complaints against Israel.

The status upgrade seems certain to win approval in any vote in the General Assembly, which is composed mostly of post-colonial states historically sympathetic to the Palestinians.

Palestinian diplomats also are courting European countries to further burnish their case.

Israel and the United States say Palestinian statehood must be achieved by negotiation and have called on Abbas to return to peace talks that collapsed in 2010 over Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinians seek to establish a state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip - which is controlled by the Islamist Hamas group who are bitter rivals of the Palestinian Authority - and want East Jerusalem as its capital.

Abbas has billed the move as a last-ditch attempt to advance long-stalled talks to achieve statehood by first having the world recognise Palestine as a state under Israeli occupation and its borders.

On Saturday, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz threatened to stop collecting tax revenues for the Palestinian Authority and not hand over any money if Abbas continued to seek observer state membership of the United Nations.

In July, Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed on a revamp of revenue collection to try to help relieve the Palestinian government’s deepening debt crisis.

The aid-dependent Palestinian economy in the West Bank faces financial crisis due to a drop in aid from Western backers and wealthy Gulf states, as well as Israeli restrictions on trade.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.