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Report: Palestinian territories - Israel

Palestinian UN bid is peaceful resistance, claims PLO chief Ashrawi

RFI/Karim Lebhour

Palestinian leaders insist that their bid for upgraded UN status is a new channel for peaceful resistance. Ahead of the General Assembly meeting Thursday, Palestinian Liberation Organisation head Hanan Ashrawi answered objections by the US and others with at a press conference in Ramallah.


Ashrawi pointed to the financial and political support the bid has mustered, especially from other Arab countries.

Acceptance would entitle the Palestinians to seats at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other UN-sponsored bodies but she was evasive over what they plan to do if the bid is successful.

But, she said, the Palestinians do not fear Israeli retaliation.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

“We have more instruments at our disposal to curb Israeli violations," she declared. "But if Israel wants to destabilise the whole region, it can, it can do that, but it has to be ready to bear the consequences.”

Following a surprise decision by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal to back the bid, Ashrawi pointed out that it represents a commitment to the responsibilities of international law.

With question marks over the consequences of the bid looming, Ashrawi addressed the thorny issue of whether both Israel and the Palestinians will file complaints at the International Criminal Court concerning the recent attacks on Gaza as well as those in 2009.

“Those who say that they will take us to the ICC don’t understand its workings and what’s been happening," she said. "I think if Israel is not guilty of war crimes then it has no reason to worry.”

The latest move seems to be popular among Palestinians, especially on the West Bank.

“All the world needs to give the Palestinians their rights," Ramallah resident Rabah Suliman Rabah commented. "We will see, we will wait until all the world says the right words to vote for the Palestinian people.”

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