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Palestine Fights for UN Status in Defiance of Obama

Common Dreams staff

Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: Fadi Arouri/Xinhua Press/Corbis)

Palestinian officials will stay the course in attempting to achieve 'non-member state' recognition at the UN by November 29, despite a request by US President Barack Obama to postpone the move.

Obama called Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday urging him to delay the bid, which is sure to anger US ally Israel. Both Israel and the US have threatened punitive measures if the Palestinian Authority follows through with its plan. Israel has cited a plethora of ways it could punish the occupied state including withholding tax revenues, further settlement expansion and annexation of parts of the West Bank, while the US would utilize punitive financial measures.

"We may have difficult times ahead," said senior Palestinian official Mohammed Shtayyeh. "When people speak about punishment measures, it makes us wonder what we did to deserve this. We don't think such a [step] deserves any punishment."

"We have been asked to choose between bread and freedom. Our choice is both. Of course we need bread but we need freedom as well," Shtayyeh continued.

If Palestine is successful in attaining what they maintain is a likely majority vote of 130 nations at the UN, Palestine would become a member of international institutions such as the international criminal court in The Hague -- a benefit to the Palestinians which has been a major factor of Israel's opposition, according to the Guardian.

On this Shtayyer stated, "If anyone is worried about this court or that, it would be better if they did not commit atrocities against the Palestinian people."

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