Friday, September 23, 2011

Palestinians make historic United Nations appeal

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas made history in his people's long quest for statehood as he formally asked the United Nations on Friday to admit Palestine as a full member state.

"Snubbing fierce opposition from Israel and its regional ally the United States, Abbas handed a formal application to UN chief Ban Ki-moon at 3.35pm GMT buoyed by more than 120 nations which have already recognized a Palestinian state.

He won huge applause and a partial standing ovation as he later stepped up to address the UN General Assembly and vowed the Palestinians were ready to return to peace talks if Israeli settlement activities cease.

Waving a copy of the request, Abbas said he had submitted an "application for the admission of Palestine on the basis of the June 4 1967 borders" with Jerusalem as its capital.

Explaining why he had pressed the Palestinian bid despite the opposition, Abbas said all previous peace efforts "were repeatedly smashed against the rocks of the positions of the Israeli government."

But the Palestinian leader stressed the Palestinians did not want to "isolate or de-legitimise" Israel."

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