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Palestinian killed by Israeli police in Jerusalem
Abbas says determined to seek UN upgrade
Published Sunday 11/11/2012 (updated) 12/11/2012 10:01
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RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday said the PLO would return to the United Nations to upgrade Palestine's status in the world body.

"We are going this month to the UN, and in two days the Arab League will announce the specific date," Abbas said at an event marking the anniversary of Yasser Arafat's death.

Abbas said the UN bid would not delegitimize Israel, but rather settlements.

But he said the Palestinian Authority was under pressure to back down.

Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israel would stop collecting tax revenues for the Palestinian Authority and not hand over any money if Abbas continues to seek observer state membership.

"If the Palestinians continue to advance their unilateral move they should not expect bilateral cooperation. We will not collect their taxes for them and we will not transfer their tax revenues," he said.

On Wednesday, the Palestinian Authority circulated a draft resolution to UN member states that calls for upgrading its UN status to that of observer state, despite objections by the United States and Israel.

"It cannot be that they hit us unilaterally and then expect bilateral cooperation with us on economic matters," Steinitz, a close ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told a town hall meeting in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.

Interim peace deals task Israel with collecting taxes and customs duties on the Palestinian Authority's behalf amounting to around $100 million a month, on goods imported into the Palestinian territories.

Israel has previously frozen payments to the Palestinian government during times of heightened security and diplomatic tensions, provoking strong international criticism.

The Palestinians are currently considered an observer "entity" at the United Nations. Upgrading them to a non-member state, similar to the Vatican's UN status, would implicitly recognize Palestinian statehood.

It could also grant them access to bodies such as the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where they could file complaints against Israel.

The status upgrade seems certain to win approval in any vote in the General Assembly, which is composed mostly of post-colonial states historically sympathetic to the Palestinians.

Palestinian diplomats also are courting European countries to further burnish their case.
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1 ) Sarah / Holland
11/11/2012 16:01
You go Abbas. Play your game and don't smile if you betray your people.

2 ) Avril / UK
11/11/2012 19:01
If Israel keeps Palestinians money it is theft, something Zionists are very good at.How dare they even suggest this as it is blackmail in it's purest form, bullies are not to be tolerated in any guise so go ahead Abbas. Maybe the The Haigue is their real worry and so it should be with all the crimes committed by Israel on the Palestinian people.

3 ) gabi / australia
12/11/2012 01:32
go Abbass. Don't give in. You will promise you lots of things not to press ahead, but don't be fooled. You will be threatened lots of things, but don't be cowed. Israel is the blackmailer. Think about the possibilities at the Hague, to begin to address at least some of the wrongs. Just do it!

4 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
12/11/2012 17:58
@ 2), No ... It wouldn't be theft--we didn't go out and steal it--but it would be absolutely wrong and illegal confiscation of Palestinian money. It IS their money. I have said strongly and repeatedly our government is shooting itself in its damn ass if it does this like it did before in related situations and ended up backing down. Our government is absolutely crazy for thinking the sky will fall when the Palestinians get their U.N. upgrade and wasting its damn time thwarting it.
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