Palestinian UN bid set for November 29, Abbas says
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority will present its bid for nonmember observer status at the UN on November 29, despite US and Israeli opposition.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has set November 29 as the date for seeking nonmember observer status at the UN, official news agency Wafa reported on Monday.
The status could add weight to Palestinian claims for a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war from Jordan. Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005.
Palestinians hope to use the status to join additional UN bodies, such as the International Criminal Court, where they could attempt to prosecute Israel.
But Israel and the US oppose to the move, saying Palestinians should negotiate their statehood via peace talks and not conduct unilateral moves.
On Sunday, US President Barack Obama told Abbas in a telephone conversation that his administration opposes the Palestinian UN initiative, and Israeli officials have threatened punitive measures if the Palestinians go ahead with the bid.
"We don't want any confrontations with the United States or Israel. If we could start a dialogue or negotiations the day after the vote, we will," the Palestinian leader said.
"We know we are a country under occupation, but we want our land which was occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem. Israel says Palestinian lands are disputed and open to negotiation, and is hurrying to build settlements, covering Jerusalem with settlements," Abbas said.
He met earlier on Monday in Riyadh with Saudi King Abdullah, before travelling to Cairo for an Arab League meeting.
The announcement came amid heightened tit-for-tat attacks between the Israeli army and the Palestinians, with Israel's military top brass weighing a stronger response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli airforce launched three raids on targets in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday which hit an uninhabited area to the west of Gaza City, without causing any casualties, Palestinian security sources and witnesses said.
The air raids came hours after Gaza militants on Monday fired six rockets at southern Israel, one of which exploded next to a house.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)