The Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has formally presented a request for the United Nations to recognise Palestine as a sovereign state.
The US has promised to veto the move which it sees as counterproductive.
Abbas’ appeal reflects a loss of faith in the peace process, which despite 20 years of talks, has led to no let-up in Israeli settlement building on land the Palestinians consider theirs.
‘I would like to inform you that before addressing you here I presented — as the president of the Palestinian state and president of the executive commitee of the PLO, to His Excellency Ban Ki Moon, the General Secretary of the UN — an application for Palestine’s membership as a full member state of the UN, based on the borders of the 4th June 1967 and its capital East Jerusalem,’ Abbas told the general assembly.
‘The support of the nations of the world for our action means a victory what is right, justice, freedom and international law,’ he added.
Abbas also extended Palestinian ‘hands to the Israeli government and the Israeli people to make peace.’
But he warned that Israel’s policy of continued settlement building is threatening the very existence of the Palestinian National Authority that he heads.