Abbas to ask France to recognize Palestinian state

PA president set to address UN General Assembly to rally world’s support for three-year Israeli pullout from West Bank

French President Francois Hollande, right, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris in 2012 (photo credit: AP/Francois Mori)
French President Francois Hollande, right, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris in 2012 (photo credit: AP/Francois Mori)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to ask French President Francois Hollande to recognize a Palestinian state when the two meet in Paris on Friday, according to the PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki.

It would be a first step toward rallying support from European countries for Abbas’s diplomatic diplomatic initiative ahead of his planned request that the UN Security Council set a timetable for Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories, the Ma’an news agency reported.

Abbas will spend two days in Paris before heading to New York, where he will attend the UN General Assembly, which opens on September 24, his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh told AFP on Sunday.

The Palestinian leader will use his speech to the UN to try to rally support for a new diplomatic initiative to set a date for ending an Israeli pullout from the West Bank.

He recently obtained backing from the Arab League for his plan, which aims to secure Israel’s withdrawal within three years and the establishment of a Palestinian state in the territories Israel captured in the Six Day War of 1967.

Earlier this month, a senior Palestinian official said the PA leadership was going to seek a UN Security Council vote on a resolution setting a three-year deadline for ending the occupation, despite knowing any such text would be vetoed by Washington.

“We will be seeking a Security Council resolution on ending the occupation on a specific date,” said Hanan Ashrawi, who is a member of the governing body of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

“We should know that the occupation will end within three years.”

She also raised the possibility of seeking passage of a similar but non-binding resolution by the UN General Assembly.

If, as expected, the Security Council bid fails, the Palestinians have said they will consider fast-tracking an application to become party to the International Criminal Court.

That would pave the way for possible prosecutions over Israeli actions in the territories, including during the 50-day war in Gaza which ended on August 26.

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