President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed Monday, that the Palestian Authority are to seek UN membership for the state of Palestine at the UN General Assembly, beginning 20th September.
Responding to accusations by Israeli and American officials that such a move is provacative and undermines peace negotiations, Abbas stressed that the two moves were not mutually exclusive and negotiations remained an absolute priority.
“Our first, second and third priority is negotiations,” said Abbas.
“There is no other way to solve this. No matter what happens at the United Nations, we have to return to negotiations," he added.
Abbas stressed that his vision was for the state of Palestine and Israel to live in peace and security as neighbours.
However, the Israeli President, Benjamin Netanyahu, maintains that UN recognition of Palestine would “set back peace, and might set it back for years.”
Despite President Obama's recent endorsement of a two-state solution with pre-1967 borders, sources within the administration have confirmed the United States' opposition to the Palestinian bid.
Senior American officials are alleged to be actively attempting to disuade the Palestinians in the interim.
The US has already vowed to veto any such bid at the Security Council. Observers expect Palestinians to seek observer status within the General Assembly, if the membership bid is unsuccessful.
“Some Israelis complain that this is a unilateral move, but when you address 193 countries, that is not unilateral,” said Abbas.
“We are going to complain that as Palestinians we have been under occupation for 63 years.”
“We don’t want to isolate Israel but to live with it in peace and security. We don’t want to delegitimize Israel. We want to legitimize ourselves.”