The Jerusalem Post
July 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday the Palestinians were seeking membership in the United Nations so they could enter negotiations with Israel as equal partners.

Abbas said during a visit to Barcelona, Spain, that once the Palestinians gain membership in the UN, they would return to the negotiating table with Israel.

“We want to go to the UN and the Security Council to ask for membership of Palestine in the UN,” the official Palestinian news agency WAFA quoted Abbas as saying.

“If we get a positive response, we will surely resume peace talks with the Israeli side over the various sticking issues, including borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, water and security.”

Abbas said the Palestinians “believe in freedom and the right to self-determination, and want to achieve a state through negotiations.”

Abbas’s adviser, Nimer Hammad, reiterated on Thursday there was no return from the decision to go to the UN in September to ask for a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.

He also called on the Arab world to “double its diplomatic and political efforts to back the PA’s statehood bid.

“The decision to go to the UN is an Arab decision,” Hammad said, referring to last week’s decision by the Arab League foreign ministers to submit the request to the UN on behalf of the PA.

Hammad said if the PA wins the support of two-thirds of the UN members “it would be in a better position even if the US resorts to the veto in theSecurity Council. In this case, the status of Palestine in the UN would be similar to that of the Vatican.”

Hammad also dismissed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent statement that he was ready to meet with Abbas without preconditions as insignificant.

“Netanyahu did not bring anything new,” the adviser said. “We don’t accept meeting for the sake of photo-ops.”

Hammad added that the Palestinians would not return to the negotiations unless Israel halted construction in the settlements and accepted the 1967 “borders” as the basis for the peace process.

He cautioned that the settlements and the creation of facts on the ground were jeopardizing the two-state solution.


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