May 17, 2011 (JTA) – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on the world’s nations to recognize a state of Palestine in the United Nations, saying it will promote negotiations with Israel.
In an Op-Ed published Tuesday in The New York Times, Abbas laid out a detailed explanation of why the United Nations should approve an independent Palestinian state when it comes to a vote in the General Assembly in September.
Abbas said a U.N. vote would allow the international community to “keep the promise it made to us six decades ago” and allow the Palestinians to negotiate with Israel on an equal footing, as “one United Nations member whose territory is militarily occupied by another, however, and not as a vanquished people ready to accept whatever terms are put in front of us.”
“It is important to note that the last time the question of Palestinian statehood took center stage at the General Assembly, the question posed to the international community was whether our homeland should be partitioned into two states,” Abbas wrote.
Abbas called a Palestinian state’s admission to the United Nations a way to internationalize the conflict “as a legal matter, not only a political one.”
Abbas said in the Op-Ed that Israel forced his family to leave Safed and flee to Syria. In earlier writings he had said that his family decided to leave, fearing Israeli retribution.