September 26, 2011
Palestinians Say Statehood Only Peaceful Option
Senior Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath said Wednesday that the Palestinians' statehood bid at the United Nations is the only alternative to violence, stressing that the UN move will give the Palestinians the change to promote their rights.
"The UN is the only alternative to violence," Shaath said during a press conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly."It will be very costly to us and the Israelis. Our new heroes are Gandhi, Mandela and Martin Luther King."
Shaath also said that the Palestinians plan to give the UN Security Council time to mull its statehood bid, which they are due to submit on Friday, before turning to the UN General Assembly.
"President [Mahmoud] Abbas doesn't want [people] to suspect we are not serious by pleading to two committees," Shaath said. "We will give some time to the Security Council to consider first our full membership request before heading to the General Assembly."
It could have been a mere coincidence, but the Obama campaign's conference call on Tuesday with Jewish activists was perfectly timed, just a day before the President's U.N. speech. And both seemed to carry the same message to Jewish voters - Obama is a great friend of Israel.
In what now looks like a Jewish voter campaign blitz, leading surrogates from the Obama campaign took to the phone for a pep talk with hundreds of Jewish supporters. On the line were DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, former member of Congress Robert Wexler, and the Obama campaign's Jewish outreach liaison Ira Forman. Their message was that Obama is getting a bad rap on Israel and its time to answer back.
"The purpose of the call was to make sure people have reliable information and to urge them to help the president get the word out," said Alan Solow, an Obama supporter from Chicago and a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations who was on the line.
Participants got a sneak preview of Obama's U.N. address, as speakers on behalf of the campaign promised it would "demonstrate again his strong support for Israel." The speech definitely lived up to this description and won praise from a broad variety of Jewish groups as well as from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
During the call, Wasserman-Schultz and Wexler also cited Obama's views on social and domestic issues, which are close to the views of many Jewish voters, but the focus was Israel and how to counter Republican claims regarding the President's policy toward the Jewish state. The conference call followed closely on the heels of a recent gathering of Democratic activists at Obama's presidential campaign headquarters in Chicago, where Wasserman-Schultz devoted a special seminar to how the party can retain Jewish voters and donors.
Does this officially mean that Democrats are concerned about the Jewish vote?
"Concern wouldn't be the right word," said Solow. "We think these will be close elections and therefore every votes counts."
World | By doctormatt | 5:22 AM