Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that he is not afraid of Israel’s “threats,” and the he plans to go full-force forward with his attempt to get the UN General Assembly to give a PA state non-voting observer status at the UN. Abbas, speaking in New York, said that the PA had been subject to “extreme pressure” to pull its request for statehood recognition, but that it planned on continuing with the process.
Numerous European countries, including France, have announced that they will support the bid. The U.S., meanwhile, said that it was sharply opposed to the move. With support from third world and Arab countries, the bid is expected to pass easily when it comes up for a vote later Thursday.
Abbas said that Israel had “threatened” him, but that he was not “afraid. If Israel wants to hurt me they can easily do so, because I live under Israeli occupation.” He added that in his opinion, the PA deserved to have a state at this time. “The world has witnessed for the past six years how the PA has developed institutions, political, security, and government, in preparation for this declaration,” he said.
Abbas did not specify how Israel had “threatened” him, but was apparently referring to statements by Israeli officials that Jerusalem would demand international guarantees in future negotiations, and that the statehood bid would “boomerang” on the PA. Speaking on Israel Radio earlier, Government Secretary General Tzvi Hauser said that the PA move will make a final settlement harder to achieve.
“This moves breaks the rules of the game and will allow Israel to react in any way it deems necessary in order to protect its interests.” Hauser stressed that any deal between Israel and PA needed to be made by direct negotiations, and that involving international bodies in the attempts to arrive at a settlement would not produce anything.
A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Israel Radio that the General Assembly’s declaration was “meaningless. This will be the third time the Palestinians have received symbolic recognition of a state from the General Assembly, after failing in the past to convince the Security Council to recognize them as a state. In addition, this move is a blatant violation of the agreements we have with the PA,” the official said, and the Authority will eventually regret its latest ploy.