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U.N. UPDATE: Palestinians Submit Statehood Bid

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday handed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon an official application for full UN membership on Friday, moments before he was due to address the UN General Assembly.

?This is a historic day in which the Palestinians are demanding the right for independence,? said senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat.

Abbas is expected to speak at the UN General Assembly at around 12:30 A.M. EST, or 7:30 P.M. in Israel. Netanyahu is due to deliver his speech about 45 minutes afterward.

An official from the Israeli delegation said that the Palestinians are worried since it is yet unclear if they have managed to gain a majority in the Security Council for their membership bid.

?The Palestinians? message of ?the world against the U.S. who casts a veto to again protect the Israelis? did not succeed,? the Israeli official said.

The Palestinian delegation, however, voiced hope and excitement in what they called a ?historic moment.?

?The feeling among the Palestinian delegation is resolute, excitement, anticipation and a sense of responsibility – history in the making,? Dr. Husam Zomlot, a member of the delegation told Haaretz on Friday.

?We approach the United Nations with all eyes looking forward to the new era where there will be serious genuine peace in this part of the world. Every single diplomat we met today fully understands, endorses, and supports our quest for membership. ?

He added that the Palestinian do not expect the Security Council vote to take place next week, saying that this is a process that would take a few weeks, but ?not longer.?

U.S. President Barack Obama has warned the United States would exercise its UN veto power to prevent a Palestinian state being declared by the 15-member Security Council.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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