Palestinians Officially Launch UN Bid for Unilateral Recognition

Jerusalem, Sept. 8 - The Palestinians officially launched their bid for United Nations’ recognition of a state Thursday, accompanied by a “multi-language propaganda radio campaign” in 26 languages, despite American pleas to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

“Palestinian officials and activists on Thursday announced the campaign in a letter delivered to the office of UN chief Ban Ki-moon in the West Bank town of Ramallah,” Israel’s YNet News reported. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is likely to address the U.N. General Assembly on September 23 as part of the campaign.

A top aid to Abbas said the Palestinians were pursuing the bid at the U.N. “regardless of objections or pressure,” the Associated Press reported.

Abbas told U.S. Middle East Peace Envoy David Hale on Wednesday (Sept. 7) that the Palestinians are going ahead with their U.N. plan – and that the U.S. is showing “disdain” for Arabs and the Palestinian position by trying last-ditch efforts to get the two sides to restart peace negotiations. The Obama administration has actively advocated for a new round of peace talks in order to prevent violence and promote stability and peace among Israelis and Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking from Jerusalem, urged Abbas to choose direct dialogue over diplomatic maneuvers that “will lead to deadlock,” a media statement stated.

In a recent poll of 1,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, 59.3 percent affirmed that they prefer to resume negotiations with Israel rather than resorting to the U.N. in order to reach permanent peace with Israel. The polling was conducted by Dr. Nabil Kukali of the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion.

The Palestinian public relations campaign, however, includes messages that describe the “’Palestinian people's suffering from 1948 to the present’ while blaming Israel for closing the doors to peace,” which airs in English, Spanish, French and other key languages.

This brushes over the fact that on May 29, 1947 the U.N. partitioned the British Mandate for Palestine into two separate and independent states – one Jewish and one Arab. The resolution called for the withdrawal of British forces and allowed for the creation of the two states, side by side, in what was formerly British Palestine. The Arab parties opposed the partition plan - either because they were against the idea of dividing up the land or because they deemed the document’s parameters unfair - leading to war between Arabs and Jews and the start of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Many in Israel are already trying to envision the ‘day-after’ scenario – meaning what will happen, on the ground, after the U.N. vote on Palestinian recognition takes place. Israeli police and law enforcement officials are preparing for massive protests and possible violence. Israeli soldiers will show “tolerance” toward Palestinian demonstrators, thanks to Israel’s riot-control training and new equipment intended to reduce injuries, Reuters reported on Monday (Sept. 5).

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