Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said at an Arab League meeting in Cairo tonight that he and Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Araby had agreed that the Palestinian UN General Assembly move to upgrade the status of Palestine to [non-member] state would be on 29 November.
In Cairo, Abbas said that the Palestinians were going to the UN now — and could not wait for elections in Israel “and then elections in Mozambique and then elections in Congo…”.
November 29 will be the 65th anniversary of the UN General Assembly vote to partition Palestine, as a way of resolving, at British request, the troubled situation, and of dissolving the Mandate the British had been awarded by the League of Nations a quarter of a century earlier.
In recent decades, the UN has commemorated the day as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
Abbas told journalists, according to AFP, that: “We don’t want any confrontations with the United States or Israel. If we could start a dialogue or negotiations the day after the vote, we will … We know we are a country under occupation, but we want our land which was occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem. Israel says Palestinian lands are disputed and open to negotiation, and is hurrying to build settlements, covering Jerusalem with settlements”. This is published here.
Earlier, in Ramallah, the PLO gave a briefing about the move. Muhammad Shtayyah explained that the text of the draft resolution that is now circulating, authorizing Palestine’s UN upgrade to [non-member] state, is already “outcome of negotiations” — in fact, he said, of months of negotiations.
Shtayyah said that the Palestinians were sure of having the necessary number of votes to pass the measure.
Shtayyah noted that the Palestinian delegation is, however, still working to accommodating certain countries’ requests for more clarity or amendments.
“Between today and the 29th [November] is consultations, so the resolution is not final + is now open for consultations”, Shtayyah told reporters.
The UN move is “to pressure for serious negotiations + an end to occupation — or there’s no point”. Shtayyah added, with some impatience. “Negotiations have to address the freeze of settlements, which should be frozen as we have always been saying”.
The upgrade in status would “change the terms of reference for the negotiations”, Shtayyah said.
“If not”, Shtayyah said, “Israel will hear through the organs of the UN, asking to put a timetable for their withdrawal”.