Palestine will not give up bid for UN membership: Hanan Ashrawi

Dr Hanan Ashrawi, Executive committee member of Palestine Liberation Organisation

  • Israel drastically underestimates the intelligence of the Palestinians and the international community, says Dr Hanan Ashrawi, Executive committee member of Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Ramallah: Palestine will not give up its bid to push for statehood at the UN despite Israel’s offer to freeze government construction activities in the Occupied Territories.

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, a respected member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) executive committee, said that the Israeli offer to freeze government construction was a mere “gimmick” to get the Palestinians to give up its statehood bid and resume peace negotiations.

“Israel drastically underestimates the intelligence of the Palestinians and the international community. We know that government construction constitutes only 12-18 per cent of all illegal colonial activities,” Ashrawi said.

“There is no way the Palestinian leadership would consider such an offer,” she added.

She said the PLO will be holding prolonged meetings until the end of the month to discuss the next course of action with regards to its statehood bid and proposed peace talks.

Resumption of talks

Ashrawi said that if the Quartet wanted to discuss the resumption of peace talks then they would be receptive to meeting them. However, she ruled out any change in the Palestinian position if Israel continues with its colony activities.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian envoy to the UN said on Monday that the Security Council should not delay its action on the Palestinians’ statehood request.

Riyad Mansour urged members of the Security Council to act quickly on the request made by the Palestinian National Assembly President Mahmoud Abbas.

“It is time for the Security Council to shoulder its responsibilities by approving our application and making positive recommendation to the General Assembly for Palestine’s admission to membership,” Mansour said.

“We cannot accept attempts to extend or postpone this exercise indefinitely at the expense of the merits of Palestine’s application and its long-overdue and rightful inclusion in the comity of nations,” he said.

“We believe that this exercise should be brought to closure with a clear outcome.” Palestinian diplomats said last week that they were trying to muster support for a November 11 vote. It remains unclear if the Palestinians can muster the 9 out of 15 Security Council votes needed for UN membership when the US has made it clear to use its veto power to block the move.

Statehood bid

Both the US and Israel oppose the statehood bid, saying that only negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel can lead to peace in the region.

UN political chief B. Lynn Pascoe called for the same resolve demonstrated last week when the Palestinian group Hamas released Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and Israel released 477 Palestinian prisoners, with an additional 550 to be freed within two months.

“We call for this same determination to be displayed regarding the most important issue — the quest for a lasting peace,” said Pascoe, who is undersecretary-general for political affairs.

( / 25.10.2011)

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