08/18/2011, 00.00
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The embassy of the new “Palestinian state” opens in Beirut

by Paul Dakiki
The opening ceremony takes place in the presence of Mahmud Abbas and Najib Mikati. According to Abbas, 122 UN member states back the Palestinian demand for a seat in the United Nations. Netanyahu accuses Abbas of making “unilateral decisions” but does not stop the “unilateral” building of Israeli settlements.
Beirut (AsiaNews) – The Palestinian Embassy opened in Beirut as Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas hoisted the flag of the new Palestinian state and unveiled a commemorative plaque. The status of the existing Palestinian delegation was thus upgraded to that of an actual embassy in the presence of the Palestinian leader and Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Abbas is in Lebanon on a two-day visit to drum up Lebanese support for his push to obtain a seat in the United Nations as a member state. Lebanon’s backing is seen as crucial since it is a member of the 10 non-permanent members of the UN Security Council. Lebanon is also set to take over the presidency of the Security Council next month, when the Palestinian demand goes before the United Nations General Assembly.

"So far 122 states [out of 193 UN member countries] support us to achieve this goal," said Abbas.

For more than a year, the Palestinians’ quiet diplomacy has gathered support for their request for UN membership on 20September. Many Latin American and European nations have expressed their support for a Palestinian state “within the 1967 borders”.

After Barack Obama’s U-turn, the United States said they would veto a discussion of the issue in the General Assembly.

Israel has placed many its embassies around the world on alert to stop the Palestinian plans and is heartened by US support.

A few days ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said “only through direct and honest negotiations—not through unilateral decisions—will it be possible to advance the peace process”.

However, the peace process has been stalled because Israel continues to build unilaterally its settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem, making it impossible for any future Palestinian state to have the necessary territorial continuity to define its borders.
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