Fares Akram and Emad Drimly
July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated Wednesday that the Palestinians will seek recognition of their state at the United Nations if international efforts failed to resume peace talks with Israel.

Abbas said when meeting United Arab Emirates' (UAE) ambassador in the West Bank city of Ramallah that Israel refuses to commit itself to the references of the peace process or stop building Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

On Monday, the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers, which include United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, met in Washington to discuss efforts to revive the Israeli- Palestinian peace talks that stopped last year over a dispute on the settlement construction. The Quartet failed to issue a statement after their meeting.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian official said that Russia opposed an invitation from the Quartet, in which the Palestinians would be asked to recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland and cancel their plans to seek recognition from the UN.

Nabil Shaath, a Palestinian negotiator, praised Russia's position during the Quartet's meeting, describing it "decisive," saying that Russia has prevented the Palestinian demands from being bargained.

The Quartet wanted to ratify the Palestinian demand that the borders of the lands, which Israel has occupied in 1967, be the baseline of the negotiations in exchange for the Palestinians to recognize Israel's Jewish identity and cancel their approach to the UN.

Al-Ayyam newspaper, a Ramallah-based Palestinian daily, reported that it was the United States which suggested calling the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish homeland.

The Palestinians decided to move to the UN and ask the international organization to recognize their state on the 1967 border after the peace negotiations broke down last year.

Israel and the United States oppose the Palestinian approach to the UN as a unilateral measure.

Envoys representing the Quartet members had been scheduled to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories on Thursday, but the visit has been canceled, said Saeb Erekat, a member of Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) Executive Committee, adding no new date has been set for a future visit.

On Thursday, Abbas will head to Egypt's capital of Cairo to participate in the meeting of the Arab League's (AL) follow-up committee, which assesses peace with Israel, to drum up support for a UN vote on the Palestinian state, a Palestinian official said.

Abbas will also ask the AL to call on the Arab states to support the Palestinian National Authority financially, said Taysser Khaled, a PLO Executive Committee member.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017