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Abbas Asks UN for State Status

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Abbas Asks UN for State Status

Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority, speaks before a vote at the UN General Assembly on Palestinian non-member status on Nov. 29, 2012, in New York City.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
On Nov. 29, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted 138-9, with 41 abstentions, to admit the Palestinian Authority as a nonmember observer state. Here is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' speech asking the UN for the status upgrade.

Mr. President of the General Assembly, Your Excellency Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Palestine comes today to the United Nations General Assembly at a time when it is still tending to its wounds and still burying its beloved martyrs of children, women and men who have fallen victim to the latest Israeli aggression, still searching for remnants of life amid the ruins of homes destroyed by Israeli bombs on the Gaza Strip, wiping out entire families, their men, women and children murdered along with their dreams, their hopes, their future and their longing to live an ordinary life and to live in freedom and peace.

Palestine comes today to the General Assembly because it believes in peace and because its people, as proven in past days, are in desperate need of it.

Palestine comes today to this prestigious international forum, representative and protector of international legitimacy, reaffirming our conviction that the international community now stands before the last chance to save the two-State solution.

Palestine comes to you today at a defining moment regionally and internationally, in order to reaffirm its presence and to try to protect the possibilities and the foundations of a just peace that is deeply hoped for in our region.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip has confirmed once again the urgent and pressing need to end the Israeli occupation and for our people to gain their freedom and independence. This aggression also confirms the Israeli Government’s adherence to the policy of occupation, brute force and war, which in turn obliges the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and towards peace.

This is why we are here today.

I say with great pain and sorrow … there was certainly no one in the world that required that tens of Palestinian children lose their lives in order to reaffirm the above-mentioned facts. There was no need for thousands of deadly raids and tons of explosives for the world to be reminded that there is an occupation that must come to an end and that there are a people that must be liberated. And, there was no need for a new, devastating war in order for us to be aware of the absence of peace.

This is why we are here today.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Palestinian people, who miraculously recovered from the ashes of Al-Nakba of 1948, which was intended to extinguish their being and to expel them in order to uproot and erase their presence, which was rooted in the depths of their land and depths of history. In those dark days, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were torn from their homes and displaced within and outside of their homeland, thrown from their beautiful, embracing, prosperous country to refugee camps in one of the most dreadful campaigns of ethnic cleansing and dispossession in modern history. In those dark days, our people had looked to the United Nations as a beacon of hope and appealed for ending the injustice and for achieving justice and peace, the realization of our rights, and our people still believe in this and continue to wait.

This is why we are here today.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the course of our long national struggle, our people have always strived to ensure harmony and conformity between the goals and means of their struggle and international law and spirit of the era in accordance with prevailing realities and changes. And, our people always have strived not to lose their humanity, their highest, deeply-held moral values and their innovative abilities for survival, steadfastness, creativity and hope, despite the horrors that befell them and continue to befall them today as a consequence of Al-Nakba and its horrors.

Despite the enormity and weight of this task, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and the constant leader of their revolution and struggle, has consistently strived to achieve this harmony and conformity.

When the Palestine National Council decided in 1988 to pursue the Palestinian peace initiative and adopted the Declaration of Independence, which was based on resolution 181 (II) (29 November 1947), adopted by your august body, it was in fact undertaking, under the leadership of the late President Yasser Arafat, a historic, difficult and courageous decision that defined the requirements for a historic reconciliation that would turn the page on war, aggression and occupation.

This was not an easy matter. Yet, we had the courage and sense of high responsibility to make the right decision to protect the higher national interests of our people and to confirm our adherence to international legitimacy, and it was a decision which in that same year was welcomed, supported and blessed by this high body that is meeting today.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have heard and you too have heard specifically over the past months the incessant flood of Israeli threats in response to our peaceful, political and diplomatic endeavor for Palestine to acquire non-member observer status in the United Nations. And, you have surely witnessed how some of these threats have been carried out in a barbaric and horrific manner, just days ago in the Gaza Strip.

We have not heard one word from any Israeli official expressing any sincere concern to save the peace process. On the contrary, our people have witnessed, and continue to witness, an unprecedented intensification of military assaults, the blockade, settlement activities and ethnic cleansing, particularly in Occupied East Jerusalem, and mass arrests, attacks by settlers and other practices by which this Israeli occupation is becoming synonymous with an apartheid system of colonial occupation, which institutionalizes the plague of racism and entrenches hatred and incitement.

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