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‘Of course’ — Abbas will return to UN to try to become non-member state

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Land Day demonstrations, Gaza. Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty

In an intense climate of stepped up arrests in the West Bank and Israeli attacks on Gaza, Palestinians are moving towards their first elections since 2006.  Ma’an news has just reported that someone planted a bomb near the election committee headquarters in Gaza that recently reopened to register voters.

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  French President Hollande and President Abbas

This comes before a backdrop of exciting news this week as President Abbas announced in France on Friday he would likely be returning to the UN to seek non member status at the General Assembly and Palestinian PM Ismail Haniyeh issued a call for unity.


At a Paris news conference with French President Francois Hollande, Abbas made good on months of speculation that the Palestinians might seek to circumvent pledges by the United States, Israel’s stalwart ally, to block any Palestinian bid for membership in the Security Council — and seek alternatives in the U.N. General Assembly.

The Palestinians currently have observer status at the U.N. and an upgrade by the General Assembly to “non-member” would give Palestine recognition as a “state” — a move that could open the way for Palestinians to take legal action against Israelis through the International Criminal Court.

“We went to the Security Council. We did not obtain the vote necessary,” Abbas said. “If we don’t return to the (peace) negotiations, we’ll of course go to the General Assembly to obtain the status of non-member state, as is the case for the Vatican or Switzerland.”

[Switzerland entered the UN as a full state in 2002 after decades of being an observer state.]

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh issued a call for unity “to address the world with one voice”: We Palestinians are reclaiming our destiny

I would like to reiterate on behalf of my people our sincere desire to live in security and stability, without wars and bloodshed; we hope that the world will help us in this venture. We extend our hand to all those who seek a just peace to work seriously to end the occupation and help us establish our state, which the world has already recognised.

We recognise that this requires a Palestinian unity that we seek to achieve. But external pressure has stood in the way, obstructing the path to political equality and national reconciliation. We believe that the absence of international recognition of the Palestinian democratic election of 2006, won by Hamas, has contributed to the current state of division, and to the creation of a weak Palestinian side that has fallen prey to accepting concessions on the rights of its people.

But today we stand again as a Palestinian people. Although under siege in the Gaza Strip, we have endured war and aggression, and withstood attempts to wipe us out without fading away. We are working hard in order to be able to address the world with one voice that represents the will of all our people, with an emphasis on the desire to live a free, decent and secure life.

We hope that this time we will be able to pass through the neck of the bottle and move on towards a genuine national reconciliation based on the formation of a coalition government that could prepare for free and transparent elections. And then the world must recognise the results of Palestinian democracy – particularly now, when the countries of the Arab spring are experiencing democratic transition, and a return to a lost authenticity that will not tear the region apart, but bring it together.

As for the bomb in Gaza, there is this from Ma’an News: Bomb plot targeted election HQ

The suspect allegedly planted an explosive device inside the home of an independent figure located opposite the elections headquarters and set it to explode as commission staff arrived.

“When we accepted the elections commission, it was a commitment to accomplish reconciliation,” Haniyeh said, adding that Hamas made many concessions in the spirit of restoring unity.

Haniyeh added that reconciliation requires freedom of will and political decision. He added that there were still detentions of Hamas leaders in the West Bank, indicating that not everyone supported restoring unity in the occupied territories.


Hamas’ agreement to let the CEC work in Gaza was a condition set by Fatah leader and President Mahmoud Abbas for starting consultations on forming a unity government.

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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34 Responses

  1. HarryLaw on June 9, 2012, 2:19 pm

    The question is what have the peace negotiations [if they get underway again] got to do with establishing observer State status at the UNGA, in my opinion absolutely nothing, in fact the negotiations envisioned by Israel are designed to put off forever the notion of a Palestinian state, until they have established enough facts on the ground, to that end it should be remembered that at a west Jerusalem meeting in November 2007, Tzipi Livni told Ahmed Qureia that she believed Palestinians saw settlement building as meaning ” Israel takes more land [so] that the Palestinian state will be impossible “; that ” the Israel policy is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we’ll say that is impossible, we already have the land and we cannot create the state”. She conceded that it had been “the policy of the Government for a really long time” Abbas said he was willing to get round the table again, but not to negotiate, what is he going to talk about, the weather?

    • annie on June 9, 2012, 4:22 pm

      Abbas said he was willing to get round the table again, but not to negotiate, what is he going to talk about, the weather?

      lately? we’ve have been following the announcements of palestinian demands wrt negotiations, last being April 26th:

      this AP report from today reiterates that demand:

      The Palestinians have said they will not resume talks until Israel halts settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem…..Palestinians have refused to resume negotiations while Israel builds on land they claim for a future state.

      last i heard the palestinians are done w/’talks’ since last january in amman:

      btw i am well aware people are not that interested in this issue, from the comments and shares..but i still think it is important to record these announcements. in fact i was just wondering a couple days ago when, if ever, abbas was going to head back to the UN w/the statehood bid so i was thrilled to read this article. i think at this pt the most effective concrete pressure the plo can apply is thru the statehood bid. i think it’s an effective tool working along side international bds.

      • American on June 9, 2012, 7:04 pm

        hey annie

        I for one am very interested and just haven’t sought out news on this lately… I’ve gotten too dependent on you to put it on MW..LOL
        Thanks for update.

        And all I can add to this :..

        “” Palestinians might seek to circumvent pledges by the United States, Israel’s stalwart ally, to block any Palestinian bid for membership in the Security Council — and seek alternatives in the U.N. General Assembly.

        The Palestinians currently have observer status at the U.N. and an upgrade by the General Assembly to “non-member” would give Palestine recognition as a “state” — a move that could open the way for Palestinians to take legal action against Israelis through the International Criminal Court.”

        Is please, please, please let it happen.

        If any of the ‘peace orgs want to do something for Palestine statehood they should organize a huge on line petition (of Americans in particular (to wave in State Dept faces) on this and send it to all UN member state offices at the UN.
        I collected all the UN phone, email and fax address of every single member 3 or 4 years ago but lost it…..there is probably a less time consuming way for some organization to get all the addresses then looking them up one by one like I did.

      • annie on June 9, 2012, 10:52 pm

        please, please, please let it happen.

        that’s what i think! but i am aware many palestinians do not share my sentiment.

      • American on June 10, 2012, 12:24 am

        Which Palestines don’t? You mean they don’t want their own state?
        I haven’t kept up with the “spokespeople” orgs for the Palestines because of most of them seem to composed of non Palestines. We don’t hear from the “Palestine man on the street” much, if at all, it seems.
        Seems we hear from the Israeli or Jewish segments who put themselves in position of speaking for Palestine peace groups…they need to butt out of everything except pressuring Israel to withdraw from the illegal settlements and the BDS effort leave what Palestines want -one state or two- to them.
        I don’t give all these ‘activist’ leaders who act like little high schoolers squabbling over whose name is going to be on posters and whose going to get credit for what much credibility in speaking for what Palestines want.

      • annie on June 10, 2012, 10:37 am

        american, i mean they are not supportive of abbas’s bid. have you read:
        Palestinian Americans “unequivocally reject” PA’s UN statehood bid

        by Ali Abunimah ?

        and here is an article by Omar Barghouti:

      • American on June 10, 2012, 11:14 am

        @ annie
        Thanks I will read them now.

    • annie on June 9, 2012, 6:37 pm

      big whoops! not sure how i missed this, big disappointment!,0,4091848,full.story

      PARIS, June 8 (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday he was ready to hold dialogue with Israel if it freed prisoners and re-armed his police, but there could be no full peace talks without a freeze on West Bank settlements.

      “We recently told them that if Israel accepted to free prisoners and allow us to re-arm the police then we would again sit at the same table as Netanyahu,” Abbas said, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

      “If Mr Netanyahu agrees … then we will establish a dialogue, but that doesn’t mean a negotiation,” Abbas told reporters during a visit to Paris.

      bla bla bla give us guns to use against our own brothers and we’ll break bread with you while we keep arresting palestinians on your behalf as we bargain with you to release our fatah prisoners.

  2. Les on June 9, 2012, 4:10 pm

    And President Obama and Ambassador Rice will do their best, as proof of US support for the Arab Spring, to make sure Abbas does not succeed.

    • annie on June 9, 2012, 4:25 pm

      yes they will les but the US has no power to veto the general assembly. i’m sure they have other tactics up their sleave but if palestine can get the votes at the GA (they had enough last sept from what i heard) i’m not sure what the US can do about it. i hope abbas carries thru on this, and soon.

      • Les on June 9, 2012, 5:01 pm

        Thanks for the reminder about the General Assembly vote being independent within the UN. Of course in 2004 the International Court of Justice ruled that “the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) have been established in breach of international law,” and the US has certainly flouted that ruling.

  3. seafoid on June 9, 2012, 5:27 pm

    Francois holl ande seems to be a lot more supportive of the Palestinians than his predecessor
    Of course France has far more Muslims than Jews.

  4. Talkback on June 9, 2012, 6:35 pm

    I still don’t get why Abbas didn’t try to get Palestine recognized by the UN first and then tried to become a member. He could have achieved alot in the meantime.

    Any ideas?

    • annie on June 9, 2012, 6:43 pm

      Any ideas? well, my first guess is IS/US threatened to withdraw PA funding and perhaps to make the point even further israel has no intention of serious negotiations. in a nutshell…the worthless quartet asked him to. spine is not his forte, to say the least.

      • Citizen on June 10, 2012, 7:37 am

        Sounds like a good guess, Annie. Thanks for updating us on Abbas.

      • Talkback on June 10, 2012, 3:04 pm

        Thank you Annie.

    • talknic on June 10, 2012, 4:23 am

      Talkback June 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      “I still don’t get why Abbas didn’t try to get Palestine recognized by the UN first and then tried to become a member. “

      The UN doesn’t recognize states, the International Community of Nations does, one by one, unilaterally, in their own time. There is no voting mechanism for recognition. A majority might or might not be reached. It is similar to a convention ‘passing into’ Customary International Law when a majority of Nations have adopted it. There is no voting mechanism. Countries’ ratification of or accession to conventions, is one by one, unilaterally, in their own time. Once ratified by a majority, conventions become Customary International Law. International Law on the other hand, is formulated and voted upon. All law is binding.

      There is one proviso in conventions. When ratifying, a State can register Reservations which stand for that country even when a convention has passed into Customary International Law. This falls under the right of persistent objection. Accession has no reservations.

      When a majority of states recognize, the state may then refer to the UNSC which in turn recommends (or not ) acceptance as a UN Member State. The UN then accepts (or not) already recognized states recommended by the UNSC.

      Palestine has already been recognized by a majority of the International Community of States. Only the US UNSC veto vote prevents Palestine’s UN Membership. Without the Zionist lobbies’ stranglehold on the US senate, this issue would likely have been over long ago.

      For the record.. The PLO, as representative of the people of Palestine, was granted observer status (not as a state)

      • Talkback on June 10, 2012, 3:00 pm

        Thanx Talknic,

        but I meant to become as a non-member state through the General Assembly.

  5. American on June 9, 2012, 7:21 pm

    If the Palestine wants spine they should borrow Putin.
    If all else fails maybe Palestine can get itself made a protectorate of Russia…then watch who f**** who.

    Even Egypt annexing Palestine or making it a protectorate of Egypt would be better than being part of Israel.

    • TheTruth on June 9, 2012, 11:42 pm

      You mean, former head of the KGB, that Vladimir Putin? The corrupt autocrat that makes a sham of any notion of democracy in Russia?

      Remember, you sleep with a $10 whore, expect to walk away with syphilis.

      • American on June 10, 2012, 4:55 pm

        “Remember, you sleep with a $10 whore, expect to walk away with syphilis” TheTruth

        LOL….you’re telling us about Putin syphilis? …that’s hysterical!
        The US has already gotten syphilis from sleeping with zionist… our politicians infected us by sleeping with those dogs.

      • Theo on June 11, 2012, 11:11 am

        Putin never was the head of the KGB, his highest rank was a major, the head is a general.
        Putin was stationed in East Germany with a KGB unit, however even there he wasn´t the commanding officer.
        To be sure, he will throw the monkey wrench into the machinary of the NWO and israeli politicians will have to start to listen.
        The USA may still be the only superpower, but no match to the combined strength of Russia, China and possibly India. Those countries are on the rise, we are going down, partially thanks for Israel.

  6. FreddyV on June 9, 2012, 8:56 pm

    Get on with it Abbas, then go to the ICC and lets see some arrest warrants out there.

    They could be issued for politicians, border police and those who served in the IDF.

    Pretty much the entire population of Israel would be scared of foreign travel for fear of arrest.

    BDS? This would be soo much more fun!

    • Fredblogs on June 10, 2012, 2:29 pm

      It would also break the ICC. Since it would become like most UN bodies, a forum for expressing anti-Semitic hatred against Israel instead of doing the job they were chartered for.

      • annie on June 10, 2012, 3:34 pm

        uh huh

      • mig on June 10, 2012, 11:51 pm

        Is there any forum left which ain’t “anti-semitic” these days. That “anti-semitic” rubber stamper has become a laughing stock time ago. But you keep on repeating that phrase cos’ you don’t know any better.

      • talknic on June 11, 2012, 4:02 am

        Fredblogs June 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm

        “It would also break the ICC. Since it would become like most UN bodies, a forum for expressing anti-Semitic hatred against Israel instead of doing the job they were chartered for”

        Under the UN Charter, when states act outside of their internationally recognized sovereign extent, the UN and its bodies have a DUTY to call those errant states to account. Israel is one such state. It has been acting outside of its legally recognized sovereign extent from the day it was declared.

      • Citizen on June 11, 2012, 5:57 am

        Fredblogs thinks the UN was chartered to furnish world legal recognition of the self-declared state of Israel, accompanied by a signed UN blank check to Israel to do whatever it wants forever and no matter the cost.

  7. Basilio on June 10, 2012, 12:56 am

    Israel is a criminal state, and it has to be stopped. People keep on appeasing Israel all the time. They’re all acting like Neville Chamberlains in the face of a clearly fascist state that has no qualms in ethnic cleansing the Palestinians.

  8. Les on June 10, 2012, 2:19 pm

    Abbas is well aware that the US is paying his bills. The slower he pushes for a state of Palestine, the longer the money will flow. Not pushing at all would end his image as a leader of any kind to Palestinian victims of occupation and ethnic cleansing.

    • annie on June 10, 2012, 2:57 pm

      some really disappointing news stories this morning re abbas.everyone is reporting he’s in talks w/israel. not so sure about the veracity of these statements, like one coming from netanyahu’s office. they almost seemed designed to screw with him over his recent remarks. sorry, not feeling like going on a search right it this morning.

  9. Danaa on June 10, 2012, 4:22 pm

    annie, you should be neither surprised nor [too] disappointed. People sometimes, in their hopefulness and commitment to eventual justice, forget that the Palestinians are, first and foremost, a conquered people. They live and carry on at the will of their conquerors. It may be tempting to fault Abbas with spinelessness. But the facts of conquest are that if he had a spine he’d have been replaced by the masters of his would-be land long ago – by a more invertebrate specimen. Hamas had and showed spine and they are not even allowed to form a unity government. Their people are arrested at a drop of a hat. Gaza was turned into an internment camp, the taps controlled by the conquerors. 1.5 Million people made to suffer – – all for demonstrating “spine”.

    I agree that hope is essential when resisting something as horrific as being a subjugated people. And the Israelis have been making battle against hope itself for lo so many years. it drives them nuts that not only have they failed to extinguish hope (as was done to other conquered indigenous people throughout history) but that the hope is sustained and bolstered by a great resurgence of activism and support from outside the territories – across the entire world.

    Right now the israelis – with help from American “friends” are busy trying to twist their bought and paid for PA government into an appearance of “talks”. They need those talks as cover for taking over all of Area C and big chunks of Area B. Since the ultimate plan is to corral the Palestinians into isolated pieces of Area A without making them citizens, the cover of “peace talks” is an essential piece in that game. What everyone knows is that the “peace talks” are really aframework for dictating terms of surrender. Abbas may or may not have been willing to surrender (the talks with Olmert indicate he may well have been). The important thing is that the Palestinians – as a people, as a collective, are not ready to surrender, and so Abbas is limited in what terms he can accept.

    But the options before him – opr anyone else – are mighty limited. If Abbas tried to go to the GA, it is not only his money that will be cut off. There is a lot lot worse that can be done not just to him or the PA but to ALL the palestinians and to the UN itself. Same if he tried to go the route of the ICC – as Hostage advocates (something the palestinians could do right now if they were able to – and would no doubt love to, were their hands not tied behind their backs). What he – and anyone who goes against Israel’s ultimate plan – are subjected to is, probably, well beyond n just losing a few 10’s of or 100’s of millions. israelis are experts at exacting collateral damage, and have no compunctions about going for the jugular.

    I know the Vichy government of France was justifiably villified. But if it wasn’t Vichy it’d have been someone else, and there’ll always be someone ready to put on the mask demanded by ruthless conquerors. Human history is full of that.

    If Abbas was a courageous man, he’d have gone on a hunger strike – because slow suicide – played out in view of world’s rapt attention – is one of the very few tools available to those who are jailed and have no power over their own fate. That this is so was recently demonstrated by the Palestinian prisoners – the hunger strikers – who were able to receive a few concessions – all thanks to demonstration of extreme weakness in the face of absolute force..

    Much is said about Ghandi and his tactics of resistance. But people sometimes forget to notice that Ghandi – among his other qualities – was a rather unique man – he was truly willing to die and his sincerity in that was manifest to the point no one doubted he had the courage and stamina to follow through. This unique form of bravery in the face of overwhelming odds – more than any other tactics – is what gave him the standing that allowed him to preach willingness to die as a tactic to others. There are – through history – very few leaders of conquered nations who were able to do that with conviction – though many a conquered leader were more than willing to die gloriously on the battlefield.

    Much has been said about Gorenberg’s hapless – and disingenuous – query – “where is the Palestinian Ghandi?”. We know they are all in jail or dead (even as others are rising). But we also know one who hasn’t gone on a hunger strike with the rest – Marwan Bharghoutti. Why didn’t he join in? probably because he was not really willing to die, and for that reason he will also not be an effective leader to the palestinians. [I am just throwing this in here].

    Back to Abbas – what is he? just an ordinary man, I suspect, with a bit of cunning on his side – who is trying to substitute a little vile for real courage. Unfortunately for him – and the rest of the PA – vile alone will not do. There is simply not enough vile out there in the face of the many antidotes the Israelis have. At times like this the palestinians need an extra-ordinary man – or woman. Such a person will not come from the ranks of the PA – unless it is meant to be.

    For us – outside – it is best to hold our disappointments in check – and keep fanning the hopes of the Palestinian people instead. It is to us to do BDS – and speak out and document to painful process unfolding in the West Bank – and even tactics such as flotillas and flytillas – doomed though they may be. It is to people like Hostage there to remind everyone that the international legal instruments are all there – just in case a small window of opportunity opens. Ultimately there’s IMO – as a student of history (not necessarily a good one) – there’s only one tool that’s available to a conquered people – admit no defeat. And have the stamina and steadfastedness to carry on – for as long as it takes.

    • NickJOCW on June 10, 2012, 6:52 pm

      It is not easy to accept, but sometimes to bend with the wind and retreat when things get too hot is the best way to respond to situations you cannot master. This is because doing nothing does not mean that nothing happens. Harold Macmillan adopted this strategy during the Cold War and was considered by many to be weak, but a new generation of Russians was moving towards adulthood and in time the USSR collapsed. Consider the global status of Israel four years ago and today. Anyway you look at it cannot avoid the perception that Israel is headed for a fall, its course is unsustainable. The world cannot afford Zionism. Meanwhile it is hard for Palestinians, as it was for many victims of the KGB and populations behind the Iron Curtain, but time is on their side and settlements can be bulldozed and replaced with olives.

    • annie on June 10, 2012, 8:15 pm

      thank you danaa. i know, i know this is a long haul battle we are in. and the most i can do right now is from the sidelines. it isn’t me over there having my children stolen out from under me and having my home invaded. sometimes i think just recording this madness is all i’m good for. but i have to believe others out there read this stuff. eventually, with enough exposure, and enough awareness ofmans inhumanity to man, there will be a truning. i already know there will bea turning it’s just a matter of when.

      their spirits are not conquered. the people seem to get stronger in my eyes. but the system they operate in is conquered. for now, only for now.

  10. HarryLaw on June 10, 2012, 7:04 pm

    Danna, Thankyou for this excellent informative and truthful comment, Professor Finkelstein also talked about only approx 10% of the French people actually resisted the German occupation on the grounds amongst others, that the Germans were ruthless [Norman Finkelstein on Hezbollah you tube] What you say is also true that things like BDS may take a long time, but equally, circumstances could change quite rapidly, especially if there were a major war in the region, I agree with your last sentence, just keep on keepin on.

  11. Theo on June 11, 2012, 9:13 am

    I would not put much hope into Abbas or anyone from the present palestinian politicians, they are just paid servants of the USA/Israeli duett.
    All they want is a luxurious life, a lot of money in swiss banks and don´t really care for the plight of their countrymen.
    If they did, they had 45 years to fight for their independence and freedom from israeli occupation. In politics sometimes you must give to receive, however those guys do nothing, but give and give.
    Why did they not go to the UN 40 years ago and demand a membership? There are many ways to fight Israel besides armed conflict. Arafat had 50 million dollars in swiss banks, he did not want to shake the boat, neither do the present leaders.

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