Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas confirmed on Friday that he will ask the United Nations Security Council next week to endorse his statehood bid.
Reuters quoted Abbas as saying in a speech he made before departing for New York, “We are going to the United Nations to request our legitimate right, obtaining full membership for Palestine in this organization.”
The PA leader added, however, that he did not rule out other, unspecified options. He also acknowledged that his UN move would not end the conflict with Israel.
“We don’t want to raise expectations by saying we are going to come back with full independence,” Abbas was quoted by The Associated Press as saying in an address to PLO leaders. He added he was going to the UN to “ask the world to shoulder its responsibilities” by backing the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Abbas urged PA Arabs to refrain from violence, saying “anything other than peaceful moves will harm us and sabotage our endeavors.”
According to a report on Kol Yisrael government radio, Abbas also said that once the Palestinian state is declared, he will consider any terrorists currently serving time in Israeli prisons to be prisoners of war and not terrorists.
Abbas’ confirmation comes as no surprise, after PA Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki announced Thursday that the entity plans to submit its bid for full UN membership with the Council on Friday, September 23.
The Palestinian Authority’s permanent observer to the United Nations later said that PA leadership has not yet decided whether to seek full membership of the UN, adding that Abbas and other leaders will make a final decision based on talks with U.S., European Union, Russian and other international envoys. Abbas’ speech seems to indicate that a final decision has indeed been reached.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday he will personally deliver Israel’s opening speech at the United Nations General Assembly when it convenes on September 20.
Netanyahu said that he would go to proclaim Israel’s truth to whomever was interested in hearing it. “The General Assembly is not a place where Israel usually gets a fair hearing, but I intend to tell the truth to those who wish to hear the truth,” Netanyahu said.
But despite Israel being against the PA statehood bid, a report which was released on Thursday suggests that it still intends to urge the international community to continue to provide financial aid to the PA.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)