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      Abbas Calls Peres to Wish a Happy New Year

      PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas calls President Shimon Peres, wishes Israelis a Happy New Year.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 9/14/2012, 5:16 AM

      PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas
      PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas
      AFP photo

      Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas called President Shimon Peres on Thursday evening and wished a “happy holiday and a Happy New Year to you and all the people of Israel.”

      Peres thanked the Abbas for his greetings in honor of Rosh Hashanah and added, “I know that the past year was a difficult year, but we must not give up; we must continue to strive for peace.”

      Abbas stressed to Peres that PA Arabs also yearn for peace and added that he hopes that the coming year will be a year of peace.

      Last week, Abbas announced that he will ask the UN General Assembly to recognize a “state of Palestine” on September 27.

      The date is just over one year after Abbas’ first statehood bid, in which the PA sought recognition of statehood from the Security Council. That bid failed due to a lack of support in the 15-member council.

      PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki has predicted that Arab countries support a unilateral PA bid for statehood recognition in the UN General Assembly.

      He said he believed the PA would win 130-140 votes should the motion be put forward at the world body, securing a majority in the General Assembly.

      The Obama administration said this week it will oppose the PA’s renewed statehood bid at the UN and will “make the case” at the United Nations for Israeli- PA talks when Abbas submits it.

      “We continue to make clear that we believe that the only realistic path for the Palestinians to achieve statehood is through direct negotiations as called for by the Quartet, and we will continue to make that case as we head towards the UN General Assembly,” State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.