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Palestinian official hits out at US policy on UN bid

Thursday September 08, 2011 08:28:20 AM, Agencies

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Ramallah (West Bank): The United States is showing “disdain” for Arabs by trying to prevent the Palestinians from gaining statehood recognition at the United Nations, a senior Palestinian official said on Wednesday.

Washington fears the Palestinians’ move at the United Nations, expected later this month, could further snarl flagging US efforts to revive Middle East peace talks, which broke down last year following a row over Jewish settlements.

David Hale, the US Middle East peace envoy, met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday in the latest American effort to halt the UN manoeuvrings but he apparently did not manage to bring a restart of direct talks with Israel any closer.

“(The president) repeated his stance that the Palestinian and Arab position is to go to the United Nations, given that the Israeli side still refuses to acknowledge clear terms of reference and is building settlements,” news agency Reuters quoted senior Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdainah as saying after the meeting.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said US policy now appeared confined to one point: stopping the Palestinians from embarking on their diplomatic initiative at the United Nations.

“The subject is not settlements, or Palestinian independence or the rights of the Palestinian people, or halting the criminal violations perpetrated by the settlers against the Palestinian people,” he said.

“All this is being ignored and the only issue has become the issue of us not going to the United Nations,” he told Voice of Palestine radio.

“This shows not only disdain for the Palestinian position, but also scorn for what is happening in the Arab region — a state of revival seeking justice for the Arab peoples and justice for the whole region.”

Popular uprisings have toppled Arab autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya this year.

Arguing that the two-decade old peace process has run out of steam, the Palestinians are seeking an upgrade in their diplomatic standing at the United Nations. They are presenting the move as a step toward levelling the playing field with Israel.

Like Washington, Israel opposes the move, saying it aims to undermine its own legitimacy and that Palestinian statehood can only be achieved through a negotiated deal.



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