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Abbas hails outcome of United Nations vote as 'historic achievement'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 3rd, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking to supporters in Ramallah during a rally celebrating the United Nations' General Assembly vote to upgrade the status of the Palestinians to non-member observer state, thanked all his supporters -- but reminded everyone that much work remains to be done.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Abbas vowed to on Sunday to pursue efforts to end the split between the West Bank and Gaza. He thanked Hamas and all Palestinian groups for supporting his statehood bid at the U.N. He said his job ahead is "restoring unity of the Palestinians and their lands and institutions."

Consisting chiefly of civil servants and Fatah activists, the crowd responded by chanting, "We want national unity!" "Abbas, onwards, we are with you until liberation!" and "With blood and soul, we redeem Abu Mazen [Abbas]." Abbas affirmed that "We will study accelerating moves to achieve reconciliation [with Hamas]."

Hailing the outcome as a "historic achievement," Abbas added that November 29 has become a "decisive turning point in our national struggle."

Noting that more than 75 percent of U.N. members had voted in favor of the statehood bid, the PA president said that most of the countries that had abstained congratulated the Palestinians on their achievement.

"The message to us is very clear," he said. "We are not alone. History is with us. The future belongs to us and God is with us."

Abbas decided to go to the U.N. in spite of pressure and warnings from several parties.

"They told us that if we go the world would explode," he added. "They asked us to postpone the move. Finally, they told us to change our policy and project. But we remained steadfast and triumphed because the world heard the voices of our people."

Abbas dedicated the U.N. "victory" as a gift to the "soul of the late [Palestinian] leader Yasser Arafat." He said that the Palestinians would continue to march in the footsteps of Arafat.

Abbas also exhorted Palestinians to continue their struggle until the Palestinian flag is raised over the walls of Jerusalem's Old City and churches. He said that Jerusalem was the "eternal capital of the State of Palestine."

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