Mideast Daily News

Palestinians To Seek Full UN Membership

By Charles Bybelezer | The Media Line

December 19, 2017

Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations General Assembly on September 30, 2015 in New York City. (Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his non-recognition of Israel and confirmed that he will seek full membership for the “State of Palestine” at the United Nations General Assembly; this, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The PA boss also vowed to join 22 international organizations, likely including the International Criminal Court, where he has threatened to bring cases against Israelis for alleged war crimes. The policy decision was made during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah Monday night which, in turn, followed Washington’s veto of a Security Council resolution condemning as null and void any changes to Jerusalem’s status. The PA has cut off all communication with American diplomats and is boycotting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the region, which has been pushed back for a second time until mid-January as the Republican Party aims to pass signature tax reform legislation before Christmas. Abbas’ strategy will be put to the test on Tuesday when he visits Saudi Arabia, which has been criticized behind closed doors by various Arab leaders for its perceived muted response to President Trump’s announcement. The House of Saud last month summoned Abbas to Riyadh where he was reportedly given an ultimatum; namely, to accept the White House’s soon-to-be-unveiled peace proposal or be removed from office. The Saudis are believed to be on-side with Washington as the kingdom seeks support in its effort to curb Iran’s regional expansionism, a goal that has led to a rapprochement with Israel which shares similar fears over Tehran’s hegemonic ambitions. The Trump administration reaffirmed this week its commitment to forging Israeli-Palestinian peace, while stressing that its decision on Jerusalem should have no bearing on the process given the president made explicit that the city’s final borders would only be determined through negotiations.

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