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Palestinian state to go to security council

Associated Press / August 15, 2011

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RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinians will ask the United Nations Security Council to support their bid for statehood, a senior official said yesterday - a move that would set the stage for a showdown with the United States.

Legislator Hanan Ashrawi is the first Palestinian official to spell out the plan to ask the Security Council to endorse admitting Palestine as a full-fledged state, despite an expected US veto.

“We are going to the UN with all options open,’’ Ashrawi said at a news conference. “We are going to the Security Council, we are going to the General Assembly. We are not limiting ourselves to one thing.’’ No date has been set for submitting the application.

Ashrawi urged the US to abstain if it would not support the Palestinian bid outright.

The Palestinian quest for a UN statehood endorsement has put Washington in the awkward position of potentially vetoing Palestinian statehood at a time when Arab countries are rising up against authoritarian rulers.

But the US is Israel’s closest ally, has much invested in a peace process it has sponsored for decades, and wants the Palestinian state to emerge from negotiations, not unilateral action.

In a separate development, the United States restored funding to international aid groups in the Gaza Strip yesterday after the territory’s Hamas rulers backed away from a demand that could have stripped the poverty-stricken area of $100 million in aid.

A US official said the United States “paused’’ its funding on Friday after Hamas ignored a 48-hour deadline for withdrawing its demand to one of the groups to turn over its books for auditing. The audit would have violated US regulations banning contact with the group, which is designated as a terrorist organization.

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