Friday, September 23, 2011

Abbas formally requests Palestinian acceptance as a state at the UN


Abbas submits application for UN membership to Ban. UN photo by Paulo Filgueiras
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
UNITED NATIONS – Much to the chagrin of the United States and Israel, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday formally requested that the UN accept a state of Palestine as a member of the United Nations.
The request, made in a speech before the General Assembly, has been forwarded by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the Security Council, where it will be studied. That’s a process that could stretch months, giving the United States opportunity to try to convince enough Security Council members to vote nor or, at least, abstain, so that the proposal falters.
Should there be sufficient votes to accept the Palestinians, the United States has pledged a veto. But that’s something Washington is trying to prevent in order to avoid straining relations with the Arab and Muslim world.
There were celebrations in the West Bank, which is controlled by Abbas’ Fatah Party following his speech, which was greeted with standing ovations at the UN. But some of the celebrations turned violent. But the reaction from the Gaza was much different. With the rival Hamas faction accusing Abbas of selling out by requesting a return to 1967 borders.

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