Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday that he was ready to return to negotiations with Israel after the Palestinian United Nations (UN) delegation has been granted the status of a non-member ‘observer state.’
Speaking during a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton yesterday in Ramallah, AFP reported that Abbas said the PA is “ready to return to the negotiating table after raising the status of Palestine at the UN, in order to resume talks.”
Indeed, a vote is expected at the UN General Assembly next month on upgrading the status of the Palestinian delegation from a non-member ‘observer entity’ to a non-member ‘observer state’. However, such a move is opposed by Israel and the United States who view the Palestinian upgrade bid as a unilateral action by-passing bilateral negotiations. Both countries have also warned that it would likely have a detrimental impact on the prospect of future peace talks. The PA hopes that the implications of becoming a UN ‘observer state’ will pave the way for widespread recognition of a Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders.
Meanwhile, tensions between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian faction which controls the Gaza Strip, appear to have receded for now. A truce which went into effect midnight Wednesday has largely held firm, following a day in which more than 80 rockets and mortars were fired on southern Israel from Gaza. Schools re-opened yesterday in the south of Israel and quiet appeared to have been restored to the region.