Defying US and Israeli opposition, Palestinians asked the United Nations today to accept them as a member state. In his letter accompanying the application, Mahmoud Abbas asked UN chief Ban Ki-moon to immediately forward the request for full UN membership to the Security Council. Action on the membership request could take weeks or months, and the US has promised to veto it.
Abbas was greeted by sustained applause and appreciative whistles as he approached the dais in the General Assembly hall to deliver his speech. Some members of the Israeli delegation left the hall as Abbas approached the podium. Negotiations with Israel "will be meaningless" as long as it continues building on lands the Palestinians claim for that state, he declared. "I don’t believe anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for full admission in the United Nations." (Read more Mahmoud Abbas stories.)