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

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs