Palestinians say decisions ahead will change face of region

AFP , Thursday 3 Nov 2011

Palestinian presidential spokesman says the leadership will be at important "crossroads" ahead of UN Security Council meeting on November 11 to discuss request for full state membership

Delegates cheer after they approved the membership of Palestine in a vote of 107-14 with 52 abstentions, during the session of UNESCO's 36th General Conference, in Paris, Monday Oct. 31, 2011. Palestine became a full member of the U.N. cultural and educational agency Monday, in a highly divisive move that the United States and other opponents say could harm renewed Mideast peace efforts. (Photo:AP)

The Palestinian leadership faces decisions about the peace process that will "change the face of the region," presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said on Thursday.

"The coming weeks and months will be crucial and form an important crossroads, particularly in terms of the peace process in the region," the spokesman for president Mahmud Abbas told AFP.

"The Palestinian leadership faces a major test including taking big decisions that will change the face of the region," he said.

The Palestinians are currently waiting for the outcome of a UN Security Council meeting on November 11, when members will discuss Abbas's request for full state membership, despite fierce opposition from Israel and the United States.

Meanwhile, peace talks remain stalled, with no direct contact between the parties for over a year, and Mideast Quartet proposals for resuming talks having yet to make any headway.

The Palestinians say they will not enter peace talks while Israel builds settlements on land they want for a future state. Israel says it will only enter negotiations if there are no preconditions laid down.

The distance between the sides has only increased in recent days with the admission of Palestine as a full member of the UN cultural organisation, UNESCO.

The move infuriated Israel, prompting the Jewish state to announce it was speeding up settlement construction and suspending the transfer of tax money to the Palestinian Authority.

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