Abbas Officially Submits Palestinian Application for Full UN Membership

UN Security Council to take up Palestinian bid on Monday in unusually fast development.

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday handed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon an official application for full UN membership on Friday.

"This is a historic day in which the Palestinians are demanding the right for independence," said senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (R) meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN headquarters in New York September 19, 2011.Credit: Reuters

The UN Security Council will take up the Palestinian bid for full statehood and UN membership on Monday. This is an unusually fast development compared to the normal tempo of the United Nations.

Council president Nawaf Salam of Lebanon told reporters on Friday that the 15-member council would begin discussions at 1900 GMT Monday to take up the application submitted earlier Friday by Abbas to the UN Secretary General. Ban passed the document hours later to the council, whose approval is needed for UN membership and full recognition of statehood.

An official from the Israeli delegation said that the Palestinians are worried since it is yet unclear if they have managed to gain a majority in the Security Council for their membership bid.

"The Palestinians' message of 'the world against the U.S. who casts a veto to again protect the Israelis' did not succeed," the Israeli official said.

The Palestinian delegation, however, voiced hope and excitement in what they called a "historic moment."

"The feeling among the Palestinian delegation is resolute, excitement, anticipation and a sense of responsibility - history in the making," Dr. Husam Zomlot, a member of the delegation told Haaretz on Friday.

"We approach the United Nations with all eyes looking forward to the new era where there will be serious genuine peace in this part of the world. Every single diplomat we met today fully understands, endorses, and supports our quest for membership. "

He added that the Palestinian do not expect the Security Council vote to take place next week, saying that this is a process that would take a few weeks, but "not longer."

U.S. President Barack Obama has warned the United States would exercise its UN veto power to prevent a Palestinian state being declared by the 15-member Security Council.

Backing Israel's insistence the two sides must resume suspended negotiations, Obama this week said there can be "no shortcut" to a Middle East peace that attempts to circumvent a treaty between the Palestinians and Israel.

Palestinians say they have been patient during 20 years of peace talks that have yielded nothing, while Israel's occupation continues and settlements grow on West Bank land.

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