RAMALLAH, May 17 (JMCC) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas begins an op-ed
in the New York Times
published Tuesday by referring to his family's flight from Safad in 1948, when Israel was established.
The aim of his commentary is that the quest for Palestinian statehood has gone on long enough, and that is why the Palestine Liberation Organization will seek United Nations recognition for Palestine within the 1967 borders of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in September.
Our quest for recognition as a state should not be seen as a stunt; too many of our men and women have been lost for us to engage in such political theater. We go to the United Nations now to secure the right to live free in the remaining 22 percent of our historic homeland because we have been negotiating with the State of Israel for 20 years without coming any closer to realizing a state of our own. We cannot wait indefinitely while Israel continues to send more settlers to the occupied West Bank and denies Palestinians access to most of our land and holy places, particularly in Jerusalem. Neither political pressure nor promises of rewards by the United States have stopped Israel’s settlement program.
Negotiations remain our first option, but due to their failure we are now compelled to turn to the international community to assist us in preserving the opportunity for a peaceful and just end to the conflict. Palestinian national unity is a key step in this regard. Contrary to what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel asserts, and can be expected to repeat this week during his visit to Washington, the choice is not between Palestinian unity or peace with Israel; it is between a two-state solution or settlement-colonies.