By Chris Mitchell and John Waage — Originally published in CBN News
The showdown over the Palestinians’ UN bid for statehood bid has reached the 11th hour.
Despite strong pressure from the US, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he’ll ask for full UN membership in his Friday speech to the UN Security Council.
The news has stoked tensions in New York and the Middle East.
Israel is not only concerned about a possible upgrade in status for the Palestinians at the UN There are also concerns that in the process, Abbas may try to redefine the borders.
Such a move could raise friction levels at checkpoints between Israel and Palestinian territories.
Israeli forces are already at higher alert levels, as Palestinians demonstrated following President Obama’s speech before the UN Wednesday.
Palestinian Authority officials in New York have warned that violence is inevitable if they are denied a state. They’re reportedly angry with the US for insisting on direct negotiations with Israel.
“The UN is the only alternative to violence,” senior PA negotiator Nabil Shaath said during a press conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
“It will be very costly to us and the Israelis,” he added. “Our new heroes are Gandhi, Mandela, and Martin Luther King.”
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he’s grateful for the U.S. stance.
“I think the Palestinians want to achieve a state through the international community, but they are not prepared yet to give peace to Israel in return,” Netanyahu remarked at joint press conference with Obama Wednesday.
“My hope is that there will be other leaders in the world, responsible leaders, who will heed your call, Mr President, and oppose this effort to shortcut peace negotiations,” the Israeli prime minister said.