Palestinians Say Statehood Efforts to Continue even as US Releases Funds
The Palestinians will not stop their bid to get a full UN membership even as the United States released the withheld Palestinian aid, a Palestinian official said Saturday.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' strategic decision to go to the United Nations for a full membership "is going on and has nothing to do with" the release of the funds, said Riad Al-Maliki, the Palestinian foreign minister.
The Palestinians will decide their next steps on the path to the UN according to the response they receive from Israel, Al- Maliki added, referring to a letter Abbas sent to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, outlining the Palestinian conditions to resume stalled peace talks.
The Palestinians sought recognition as a state from the United Nations in last September, but failed to secure enough votes in the Security Council, blaming the U.S. administration for putting pressure on some countries to block the Palestinian bid.
On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama lifted the ban on the Palestinian assistance, giving the green light to transfer 192 million U.S. dollars to the cash-strapped Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
The money were withheld by U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Wassel Abu Yousef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) Executive Committee, said that Obama lifted the ban after his administration failed to revive the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
The negotiations stopped in 2010 as the Palestinians protested the resumption of Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.
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