7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
World News


RAMALLAH: A defiant Mahmoud Abbas yesterday vowed to press ahead with his efforts to secure a diplomatic upgrade at the UN.

The Palestinian president, who cut short a trip to Europe to deal with the crisis surrounding Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip, yesterday accused Israel of launching an assault on the Gaza Strip to undermine his efforts to secure the diplomatic upgrade at the UN.

Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said Abbas cancelled planned meetings in Switzerland to rush back to the West Bank.

Abbas accused Israel of instigating a "blood bath", telling reporters he thought the escalating military campaign was aimed at sinking his own diplomatic manoeuvrings.

Officials in Gaza say 28 Palestinians, including 16 civilians, had been killed since the start of the Israeli offensive.

"Everything that is happening is in order to block our endeavours to reach the UN," Abbas said.

Abbas has asked Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby to visit the enclave today and tomorrow.

Despite the violence, he said he would push ahead with plans for a vote at the UN General Assembly before the end of the month to give the Palestinians the rank of an "observer state" within the world body rather than the present "observer entity".

The upgrade would enhance Palestinians' legal rights at a time when peace negotiations with Israel have hit a wall over Israel's refusal to halt settlement building in territory where the Palestinians want their state.

click on image to view the digital edition