News / Middle East

    Palestinians Celebrate, Israelis Express Concern Over UN Recognition Bid

    Palestinians gesture during a public screening of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' speech at the United Nations, in the West Bank city of Ramallah September 23, 2011.
    Palestinians gesture during a public screening of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' speech at the United Nations, in the West Bank city of Ramallah September 23, 2011.

    Palestinians celebrated Saturday while Israelis expressed concern over Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's request for United Nations statehood recognition.

    The mood in the Palestinian West Bank was quiet but jubilant one day after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas asked for recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations.

    Ramallah resident Mohamed Madhoon said he hoped Abbas would press ahead with the effort.

    He says Palestinians have the right to ask for membership in the U.N. like other countries. "We are optimistic, God willing, that we will have a state like the others," he said.

    The night before, thousands of Palestinians cheered the U.N. speech of Abbas broadcast on outdoor television screens in cities across the West Bank.

    Hebron resident Mufid Sharabti said the speech by Abbas, often called Abu Mazen, was an important step.

    He says yesterday was the first candle for the Palestinian state lit in the United Nations. Everyone saw the support for President Abu Mazen and saw the happiness of the Palestinian people.

    Arabic language newspapers praised the speech. They said it had bolstered Palestinian hopes for statehood as well as Abbas’s popularity.

    Most of the Hebrew language newspapers said the U.N. bid would have little consequence since the Palestinians were not likely to drop their conditions for resuming peace talks which have been stalled for nearly a year.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his address to the United Nations Friday, called on Abbas to resume negotiations with him immediately and without pre-conditions.

    Israelis, such as Jerusalem resident Haim Ben-Ami, reacted to Abbas’s statehood proposal with a mix of hope and concern.

    He says the speech seemed to be directed to the Palestinian people and Arab nations. It is good, he says, because it gives me a greater sense of security in that Abbas has strengthened his position. And there will not be instability in the Palestinians’ state if there is a strong leader.

    Tel Aviv resident Yossi Oran said it offered hope for a resumption of the peace talks.

    He says we need to sit everyone down at the negotiating table and shut the doors until they reach an agreement because the Palestinians are at a boiling point.

    But residents of the Gaza Strip, under the control of Hamas which opposes the U.N. bid, did not believe U.N. recognition would help the Palestinian cause. Gaza resident Salah Abu Ajram.

    He says the United Nations backs the Jews and will never back the Arabs. He expects the world body will reject the application or if it approves it, the United States will veto it.

    U.S. President Barack Obama says his government would use its veto power in the U.N. Security Council to block any resolution recognizing the Palestinians. Obama said in his U.N. speech that the only solution was direct talks between the two parties.

    His remarks have drawn widespread criticism from the Palestinians and praise from Israeli leaders.

    Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora