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Abbas Says Palestinians to Move Ahead With Statehood Bid at UN

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he will press ahead with plans to seek statehood recognition at the United Nations and resist international pressure to drop the bid or wait until after Israeli elections on Jan. 22.

“The pressure on us is tremendous, more than you can imagine,” Abbas said today at a memorial ceremony in the West Bank city of Ramallah on the eighth anniversary of Palestine Liberation Organization founder Yasser Arafat’s death. “We are being warned not to go and have been promised by the U.S. administration that they will have new proposals.”

Abbas failed last year to secure approval in the 15-member Security Council for recognition of Palestinian statehood and membership in the UN General Assembly. This year, Abbas is seeking a lesser goal of recognition as a “non-member observer state” in the 193-member General Assembly, where the U.S. has no veto, as it does in the Security Council.

Israel may halt economic cooperation, including the transfer of tax funds collected for the Palestinian Authority, if Abbas moves ahead with his plan at the UN, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said yesterday at a public forum in Beersheba, Israel Radio reported.

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