The PLO Executive Committee’s Hanan Ashrawi told journalists in Ramallah today that “the last few days have been incredibly decisive for the Palestinian people”. She was speaking in a press conference called to discuss the Palestinian leadership’s 29 November move to go to the UN General Assembly to ask for a modest upgrade from observer “organization” to observer “state”.
Hanan Ashrawi speaking at a PLO press conference in Ramallah on 28 November 2012 – photo by AFP published here
UPDATE: Amira Hass, who was one of those attending Ashrawi’s press conference, later wrote in Haaretz here, that “as the day of the vote neared, it seemed that the excitement of those behind the move was finally beginning to percolate downward. For a moment, it seemed as if the PLO had stopped thinking like a ruling organization bent on preserving the status quo and was once again thinking like a national liberation organization capable of imagining change and effecting it through the balance of international forces”.
Ashrawi told journalists that “There will be a vote in the UN General Assembly at the end of the debate on Thursday on the upgrade in status of Palestine to [non-member observer] state, Ashrawi said. She added that the draft resolution for Palestine’s status upgrade to state has been tabled, it will not be amended any further, and it has some 60 co-sponsors — as well as enough support to pass in the UN GA vote tomorrow.
“It is time for the Palestinians to gain their right to self-determination and independence”, Ashrawi said. “It is time the occupation is removed”.
In the June 1967 war, Israeli military forces occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.
The UNGA vote is scheduled for 29 November — the date of the anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s adoption in 1947, following the Second World War, of Resolution 181, recommending a partition of Palestine, under British Mandate from the end of the First World War, into two states — on Jewish and one Arab. The State of Israel was proclaimed from Tel Aviv six months later. The Declaration of Independence of the State of Palestine was adopted by the PLO’s Palestine National Council meeting in Algiers in November 1988.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry “now estimates that at least 150 UN member states will support the Palestinians” upgrade to observer state, according to a report in Haaretz, posted here. The same article reported that as the Israeli leadership realized over the last two days that its position was eroding, the decision was to “lower the profile” and make no more threats, at least for now. “Whatever we do will hurt Israel at least as much as it will hurt the Palestinians”, one Foreign Ministry official was quoted as saying.
By the time the vote takes place on Thursday, it may be almost midnight in Ramallah and Jerusalem and Gaza, she noted.
Ashrawi told journalists: “This constitutes a historical turning point and opportunity for the world to rectify a grave historical injustice that the Palestinians have undergone since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, and their statements that it was a land without people…”