Abbas at UN - AP - Sept. 21, 2011
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds his hands to his face as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the 66th session of the General Assembly at UN headquarters, Sept. 21, 2011. Photo by AP
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Senior Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath said Wednesday that the Palestinians' statehood bid at the United Nations is the only alternative to violence, stressing that the UN move will give the Palestinians the chance to promote their rights.

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"The UN is the only alternative to violence," Shaath said during a press conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly."It will be very costly to us and the Israelis. Our new heroes are Gandhi, Mandela and Martin Luther King."

Shaath also said that the Palestinians plan to give the UN Security Council time to mull its statehood bid, which they are due to submit on Friday, before turning to the UN General Assembly.

"President [Mahmoud] Abbas doesn't want [people] to suspect we are not serious by pleading to two committees," Shaath said. "We will give some time to the Security Council to consider first our full membership request before heading to the General Assembly."

Shaath explained that the UN move is part of a non-violent strategy to seek the support of the international community after Israel has not ended the occupation and widened the settlements.

"We are not seeking to join the mafia or al-Qaida, we seek membership of the UN. It will give us the right to promote our rights," he said.

Earlier Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a speech at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, urging the Palestinians to renew negotiations with Israel, rather than seek statehood at the UN.