Abbas asks U.N. to admit Palestine as a full member

Rapturous Palestinians react to Abbas's UN speech, broadcast live in Ramallah on Friday (Getty)

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said:

"It is a moment of truth and my people are waiting to hear the answer of the world. Will it allow Israel to continue its occupation, the only occupation in the world? Will it allow Israel to remain a State above the law and accountability? Will it allow Israel to continue rejecting the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice and the positions of the overwhelming majority of countries in the world?

I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in the the Diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba: Enough. ["Nakba" means "Catastrophe" - JX] It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.

The time has come to end the suffering and the plight of millions of Palestine refugees in the homeland and the Diaspora, to end their displacement and to realize their rights, some of them forced to take refuge more than once in different places of the world.

At a time when the Arab peoples affirm their quest for democracy - the Arab Spring - the time is now for the Palestinian Spring, the time for independence."

Thousands of Palestinians crowded into an overflowing Clock Square in Ramallah. As Abbas began to speak the square fell almost entirely silent. But his pledge that "the people will continue their popular peaceful resistance" against occupation and "apartheid" was greeted with whistles, cheers and a rolling sea of flag waving. There were supporters on every visible rooftop waving the Palestinian flag and hundreds more dangling out of windows, craning to see the speech live on the big screens. IB Times and Guardian

Abbas submits application to U.N. Security Council

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas formally asked the U.N. Security Council Friday to recognize a Palestinian state. The Security Council is expected to take weeks, perhaps month, to act on the statehood application. In his U.N. address, shortly after the Abbas speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will support Palestinian statehood, but only after a negotiated peace accord that guarantees Israel’s security. He said Israel left Gaza, uprooting settlements in 2005 to international applause, but was rewarded with a takeover of Gaza, and rocket attacks, by the militant Hamas. He said the core issue of the conflict is not settlements, but the Palestinians’ refusal to accept a Jewish state in any borders. CONTINUE

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