Sept. 23 - Abbas moves forward with Palestinian bid for statehood to harsh criticism from Israel. Deborah Gembara reports.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas made it official --- holding up a copy of a formal request for statehood at the United Nations. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas saying (Arabic) "I do not believe anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for full admission in the United Nations." His speech was met with a standing ovation from several delegations and polite silence from the U.S. Abbas said failed peace talks with Israel left Palestine with a "blocked horizon." Addressing the same body hours later, Netanyahu said the dialog about statehood should only be considered after successful peace talks. SOUNDBITE: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying: "President Abbas just said on this podium that the Palestinians are armed only with their hopes and dreams. Yeah, ten thousands missiles and rockets supplied by Iran not to mention the river of lethal weapons now flowing into Gaza from Libya and elsewhere. You might understand that given all this, Israelis rightly ask, what is to prevent this from happening again in the West bank?" Crowds watching the televised speech in the West Bank hurled shoes at their screens in response. back in New York, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad weighed in on the statehood issue SOUNDBITE: Iranian President Ahmadinejad saying (Farsi): "The topic of the Zionist regime is a separate topic and the right to legitimacy and self-determination of the Palestinian government is something. We have continually supported their right to self-determination and we continue that support today unconditionally." Despite the prospect of failure, Palestinians are welcoming the bid as a change of approach 20 years after the start of peace talks that have failed to deliver their independence. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.