United Press International (UPI)
August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab League's Peace Initiative Committee pledged to support the Palestinian bid for unilateral statehood at the United Nations next month.

At a meeting in Doha Tuesday, members of the committee approved a work plan to build up international support for the move, paving the way for the Palestinians to secure full membership status with East Jerusalem as its capital, Gulf Times reported Wednesday.

In an interview on al-Jazeera, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of initiating the recent tensions in Gaza to distract attention from the wave of social justice protests.

Abbas refrained from condemning last week's terror attack near Eilat in which eight Israelis were killed.

"Israel has been witnessing real unrest and weekly demonstrations calling for social justice. These protests could have grown had it not been for the escalation, which diverted attention from the events. Since then, the demonstrations have stopped," The Jerusalem Post quoted Abbas as saying.

Those attending Tuesday's session declared Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip unjustified and unacceptable.

"Moreover as Israel continues the construction of new settlements, any hope on progress in the peace process diminishes," Gulf Times quoted Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani as saying.

Abbas asked the forum to intensify efforts worldwide to secure membership for a Palestinian state, and draw the world's attention to Israel's aggression in Gaza, The Peninsula said.


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