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Israel slams UN Palestinian vote

WASHINGTON/TEL AVIV, Nov. 30 -– None of the Palestinian actions on the international arena could present an alternative to direct peace talks with Israel, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

“We believe that the Palestinian decision to submit a bid for a non-member observer state status was a mistake…as nothing could substitute direct talks without preconditions in the effort to resolve our [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict,” Barak said after talks with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Pentagon on Thursday.

The UN General Assembly recognized on Thursday the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a non-member observer state by a more than two-thirds majority.

Barak said the upgraded Palestinian status would not change the situation in the region and would not give more powers to the Palestinian authorities.

“I repeat, this will only worsen the situation rather than resolve the problem,” the minister said.

President Mahmoud Abbas urged the UN General Assembly before the historic vote “to issue the birth certificate of Palestine."

Abbas also reiterated that the Palestinians would continue their efforts to achieve a fully-recognized statehood and to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Abbas’ address to the General Assembly "defamatory and venomous."

He said that the UN move violated past agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and Tel Aviv “would respond accordingly.”

Washington joined Israel in strong criticism of the vote calling it an “unfortunate and counterproductive” move that “places further obstacles in the path of peace.”

Other nations that opposed the vote on Thursday were Canada, the Czech Republic, Panama, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau. (PNA/RIA Novosti)


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