PA to seek U.N. statehood recognition

June 27, 2011 at 7:35 AM
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, June 27 (UPI) -- The Palestinian Authority says it will ask the United Nations in September to recognize it as an independent state based on 1967 borders.

The announcement Sunday followed a meeting of Palestinian leaders in Ramallah and it was met with immediate resistance from Israel, which said it would hold a military exercise to prepare for potential clashes on Israel's borders, Haaretz reported Monday.

Palestinian leaders said statehood would strengthen efforts to renew negotiations based on the Arab Peace Initiative. They also said they plan to carry out the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas.

The 1967 borders refer to Israel's borders as they were before the 1967 Six Day War that led to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

At the meeting producing the announcement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he is determined to visit the Gaza Strip.

Abbas urged world leaders to support a separate Palestinian state.

Following the announcement, the Israeli military said it would immediately hold a two-day military exercise to prepare for possible clashes on its border.

Benny Gantz, chief of staff of the Israeli military, said the exercise, which runs through Tuesday, would prepare mid-level commanders to deal with demonstrations, marches and skirmishes along the border.

Haaretz said the PA's announcement rules out any chance of renewing direct talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

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