The Palestinians have taken their much anticipated step and decided to push for full statehood at the United Nations next week.
In Ramallah and all over the West Bank preparations for nationhood are in full swing. Becoming the UN’s 194th state appears to be a dream, but here it will be celebrated as a reality.
Abbas joked at the announcement that no-one would believe him, and that may include his Palestinian critics who accuse him of weakness.
“We will go to the Security Council… and as soon as I do my speech at the General Assembly, I will give my demand to the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, who will transmit it to the Security Council; our choice is the Security Council,” he announced to cheers in Ramallah.
The USA immediately maintained its opposition, insisting it wants talks, not statehood. In Gaza Hamas called the move irrelevant because Abbas would resume negotiations with Israel — a move the group opposes.
“Israel does not understand the language of peace, it only knows how to deal with violence, which Abu Mazen warned us against. We support the popular non-violent movement which supports the leadership’s political discourse in the U.N,” said one Hebron resident.
Even if a US veto in the Security Council appears to rule out Yasser Arafat’s dream of statehood for now, his successor Abbas will have laid down a marker, and observer status in the UN General Assembly remains a possibility.