Palestinians submit UN statehood bid

· Israel, Palestine, United States
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Source: Yahoo News

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Defying U.S. and Israeli opposition, Palestinians asked the United Nations on Friday to accept them as a member state, sidestepping nearly two decades of failed negotiations in the hope this dramatic move on the world stage would reenergize their quest for an independent homeland.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was greeted by sustained applause and appreciative whistles as he approached the dais in the General Assembly hall to deliver a speech outlining his people’s hopes and dreams of becoming a full member of the United Nations. Some members of the Israeli delegation, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebermann, left the hall as Abbas approached the podium.

Negotiations with Israel “will be meaningless” as long as it continues building on lands the Palestinians claim for that state, he declared, warning that his government could collapse if the construction persists.

“This policy is responsible for the continued failure of the successive international attempts to salvage the peace process,” said Abbas, who has refused to negotiate until the construction stops. “This settlement policy threatens to also undermine the structure of the Palestinian National Authority and even end its existence.”

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Picture: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, poses for a picture with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after giving him a letter requesting recognition of Palestine as a state during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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