29 May 2011

UN membership to be sought for Palestinian state

9:30 am on 29 May 2011

The Arab League is to seek full UN membership for a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The decision was made at a meeting in Doha attended by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

The BBC reports Mr Abbas reiterated his determination to seek UN recognition in September unless Israel began negotiations on a "substantial basis".

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for months.

A statement issued on Saturday said the Arab League ''supports the appeal to the UN asking that Palestine, within the 1967 borders, becomes a full-fledged state''.

Mr Abbas told the meeting:

''Our option is still negotiation, but it seems that because of conditions imposed by (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu ... we have no choice but to use the UN to get recognition of our state.

''We are serious in our decision to use the UN, it is not manoeuvring.

''We will do it unless Netanyahu accepts to begin negotiations today on a substantial basis.''

US view

In a policy speech on 19 May, President Barack Obama issued a clear call for Israel and the Palestinians to use the borders existing before the 1967 Six Day War, with land swaps, as the basis for talks.

However, he made it clear that an appeal to the UN for full membership for Palestine would be a mistake.

On Friday, UN General Assembly president Joseph Deiss said that a Palestinian state would need the support of all five permanent members of the Security Council to be recognised.