End Times News Update
Sign: Covenant With Many (Mideast peace news)
Scripture: Daniel 9:27
News Source: My Way News
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Palestinians launch PR blitz for UN recognition

Sep 8, 3:06 PM (ET)
By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) – The Palestinians launched a campaign on
Thursday to rally support for U.N. recognition as an independent
state, planning demonstrations in the Palestinian territories and
worldwide before asking the world body to accept them as a full member
state later this month.

The public relations blitz helps set up a diplomatic showdown at the
U.N., where Israel and the U.S. are leading opposition to the bid, and
adds to concerns in Israel that mass demonstrations could turn
violent.

The U.S. administration said for the first time Thursday that it would
veto any Security Council resolution to recognize Palestinian
statehood.

With peace talks deadlocked for nearly three years, the Palestinians
plan to ask the United Nations to recognize their independence in the
West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem – areas captured by Israel in
the 1967 Mideast war.

Although the vote will not change the situation on the ground, the
Palestinians believe a strong international endorsement will isolate
Israel and boost their position in future negotiations. Israel opposes
a full withdrawal to its 1967 lines that mark the West Bank’s
boundaries.

At Thursday’s ceremony, some 100 Palestinian officials and activists
gathered at the U.N. offices in Ramallah for a short ceremony, where
they spelled out their plans in an informal letter addressed to U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“We urge you to add your moral voice in support of the Palestinian
people enjoying a life of freedom and dignity, like the rest of the
people of the world,” the letter says.

The letter was delivered by Latifa Abu Hmeid, a 70-year-old woman who
lost one son in fighting with Israel and has seven other sons in
Israeli prisons because of alleged militant activities. Officials said
Abu Hmeid was selected to deliver the document because her personal
story reflects the plight of the Palestinians.

Thursday’s event was organized by the Palestine Liberation
Organization, the umbrella group that is dominated by President
Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement. The Palestinians have yet to say when
they would submit their formal request to the U.N. and what form it
would take.

Campaign organizer Ahmed Assaf, a Fatah spokesman, said that
Palestinians would begin staging small protests in the West Bank on
Friday.

The program will be capped by mass demonstrations throughout the area
on Sept. 21, when the U.N. General Assembly opens, and Sept. 23, when
Abbas delivers his speech seeking recognition as the 194th member of
the world body.

“Today is the official launch of our campaign: Palestine State 194,”
Assaf said. “We picked the U.N. because the U.N. represents political
legitimacy for the Palestinians.”

Despite the high-profile campaign, key questions remain. The
Palestinians have been vague on whether they will seek membership from
the Security Council or the General Assembly.

The 15-member council is the most powerful body at the U.N. Its
decisions are legally binding and its backing is necessary for full
membership. The U.S., however, as one of five permanent members of the
council, would veto any Palestinian request, State Department
spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday, after months of
administration hinting in that direction.

Instead, the Palestinians could turn to the larger General Assembly,
which is dominated by pro-Palestinian developing nations, for
admission as a “nonmember state.” Approval is guaranteed, but the
victory would be largely symbolic, though the Palestinians could gain
admission to certain U.N. bodies, including the International Criminal
Court, that they could potentially use as a launching pad for action
against Israel.

The U.S. and Israel have vociferously urged the Palestinians to drop
their bid and resume negotiations, which broke down a year ago over
Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The Palestinians say they will not resume talks until Israel halts
settlement construction and endorses the 1967 lines as the basis of a
peace settlement. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said
Israel must retain parts of the West Bank, and he opposes any pullout
from east Jerusalem, home to sensitive religious sites.

The White House sent two senior envoys to the region this week in
hopes of persuading the Palestinians to change their minds, but
Palestinian officials say the talks made no headway.

The officials said international Mideast envoy Tony Blair was now
trying to find an acceptable formula to get peace talks going again.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a
sensitive diplomatic matter.

Although the Palestinians say their campaign will be peaceful, Israeli
military officials warn that mass demonstrations in the West Bank
could turn violent.

In comments published Thursday, Israel’s ambassador to the United
Nations, Ron Prosor, said he was lobbying his counterparts to oppose
the Palestinian bid.

“This is a diplomatic endeavor against all odds. I am trying,
literally down to the last moment, to persuade the ambassadors of U.N.
member countries that this unilateral course of action by the
Palestinians won’t lead to peace and won’t lead to the establishment
of a Palestinian state, but only to violence and bloodshed,” he told
the Maariv daily.

Israeli security forces have been preparing for the possibility of
violence, conducting exercises and stockpiling what they say is
“non-lethal” riot-control equipment like tear gas, water cannons and
stun grenades.

Source: My Way News
URL:
http://apnews.myway.com/article/20110908/D9PKH4981.html

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