Palestinian Authority rejects calls to postpone statehood bid

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Reuters / Marko Djurica)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he intends on pressing forward with a statehood bid at the United Nations next week. He has turned down requests from the US, Britain, Germany and France to delay the bid.

Abbas will formally request that the UN General Assembly upgrade the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) status from observer to nonmember state on November 29. The Assembly will be asked to vote on the measure.

“There is nothing that stops us from obtaining the status of non-member observer…we are sure that the countries of the free world will support us,” Abbas said in a statement.

Palestinian officials told Al-Ayyam news that they hoped the recent Israeli Defense Forces operation in Gaza would encourage countries to vote in favor of upgrading the PA’s status.

Officials said they would spend the coming days attempting to persuade European Union governments to vote in favor of the bid. The PA is, however, expecting most EU countries to abstain during the vote.

The PA said it expects the Assembly to vote two-thirds in favor of granting the PA nonmember status.

Unsurprisingly, the US is not expected to be part of that two-thirds bloc.

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