After much blowing hot and cold, the Palestinians are finally saying categorically that they are going for full membership of the UN. Abbas talking to the Palestinian Revolutionary Council yesterday spoke clearly in these terms as well. The application to the UN, he added, will include a request for formal recognition of the West Bank as occupied territory rather than disputed territory. The aim of of going to the UN and obtaining such recognition, he said, is to assert the illegality of the occupation and thereby strengthen the PLO’s hand. Then, in the same breath, he conceded that (and I translate directly from the Arabic in Maan) “Whatever the result we achieve at the United Nations, we shall return to the negotiations to solve the various issues related to the final status and the prisoners.” Barring that this an adlib statement which was not carefully measured, it seems to me (and I hope I am wrong) that Abbas is willing to go back to the negotiations even if the UN fails to recognize Palestinian statehood. In other words, dissolution of the PA is not an option.
Red Cross: Scale of sexual violence in South Sudan is unprecedented (Reuters)