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Ramallah, West Bank — “What Israel has done over the course of the past 60 years has been criminal,” he said. “They took our land, our children and our future. The battle is now at the United Nations.”
Israel, the United States and a handful of other U.N. members voted against what they see as a largely symbolic and counter-productive move by the Palestinians, insisting true statehood can only be achieved through a comprehensive Middle East peace treaty ending 65 years of intractable conflict.
A bid by Abbas last year for full statehood was defeated in the U.N. Security Council, where Washington has a veto.
He has pledged a prompt return to negotiations with Israel when he wins the upgrade from “entity” to “observer state”. Talks have been frozen for two years.
Palestinians seek a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, land captured by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Hamas leaders, who do not recognise the state of Israel, dropped their initial opposition to Abbas’ statehood move and gave it their backing but have not softened their opposition to the two-state solution Abbas advocates.
“We support any political achievement for our people to reach out and acquire a state,” Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Thursday.
But Haniyeh insisted Hamas’s position would not change, and stood “on the basis of non-recognition of the occupier and in commitment to our strategic and everlasting rights, foremost being the right of return (of Palestinian refugees).”
“We do not believe in the two-state solution,” Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal said earlier.
Hamas and other militants this month fought an eight-day conflict with Israel, which launched an offensive to halt rocket fire from Gaza into its southern towns. The brief war killed at least 170 Palestinians and six Israelis.