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PA leader tells Arab League he will ask UN for full membership

PA head Mahmoud Abbas also wants to push UN to condemn construction of West Bank settlements and affirm its commitment to two-state solution

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah II at the Arab League's headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 12, 2023 (Photo: The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS)

During the Arab League Summit on Sunday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told members he plans to ask the United Nations this week to give the PA full UN membership.

The summit, which took place at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, “aims to support and strengthen the steadfastness of the Palestinian people of Jerusalem as the first line of defense for the occupied city on behalf of the Arab and Islamic nations,” according to WAFA news agency. The PA currently enjoys observer status at the UN.

Abbas also told the Arab League he wants to push the UN to condemn what he termed as Israel’s “unilateral measures,” such as construction of settlements in the West Bank, also known as Judea and Samaria.

He also wants the UN to reaffirm its commitment to the two-state solution.

 “The State of Palestine will continue going to international courts and organizations to protect our people’s legitimate rights,” Abbas said, adding that “supporting Jerusalem and strengthening the steadfastness of those staying there and in its environs is a religious duty and a humanitarian and national imperative.”

The UN General Assembly recently voted 98-17 in favor of acquiring a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the “legal significance of the ongoing Israeli occupation” in the West Bank.

Abbas said that the Arab fight to claim Jerusalem had begun with the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the document in which then-British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour declared the support of Great Britain for a Jewish state in Mandatory Palestine.

“The battle raging over Jerusalem did not only begin on the day of its occupation in 1967, but several decades prior to that, and even before the Balfour Declaration which was issued by the colonial powers, led by Britain and America,” Abbas said. He further stated that the declaration was aimed at “ getting rid of the Jews in Europe and establishing the so-called Jewish national home in Palestine, to be an outpost to safeguard the interests of these colonial countries.”

“Just as our people rejected the Balfour Declaration and its results, we also rejected all attempts to liquidate our cause or falsify the facts about it. We rejected the ‘deal of the century,’ and we refused – and we still refuse – to move the U.S. embassy or any other embassy to Jerusalem,” Abbas said, referring to then-U.S. President Donald Trump’s moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in 2018.

The Arab League Summit was attended both by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, in addition to other Arab leaders and ministers. Both Abdullah and el-Sisi made speeches in support of Abbas’ claims of Israeli “violations.”

King Abdullah said the topic of the meeting “is close to the hearts of all Arabs.”

“We reiterate that preserving the prospects of peace, on the basis of the two-state solution, demands ceasing all Israeli violations, incursions into Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif, and attempts for temporal and spatial division,” the Jordanian king said.

El-Sisi warned that keeping the status quo on the Temple Mount was paramount and that Israeli attempts to change it would “negatively impact” future negotiations to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Egypt repeats its warning of the dire consequences that may result from a breach of this or an attempt to pre-empt or impose a fait accompli that negatively affects the prospects for final status negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides,” el-Sisi said.

Furthermore, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, secretary-general of the Arab League, made the oft-repeated Arab accusation that Israel is attempting to partition the Temple Mount and remove its Arab and Islamic identity. Such claims are regularly made, although Israel has repeatedly said that it has no such plans.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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