Abbas: UN vote is 'investment in peace'
UNITED NATIONS - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is appealing to all nations to vote in favor of a U.N. resolution recognizing the state of Palestine as "an investment in peace."
In a statement ahead of today's General Assembly vote, Abbas says the Palestinians "remain committed" to a two-state solution to their conflict with Israel, adding: "our hand remains extended in peace."
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the Palestinians will have to back down from long-held positions if they ever hope to gain independence.
The United States, Israel's closest ally, mounted an aggressive campaign in hopes of heading off today's vote. In a last-ditch move yesterday, a U.S. official promised Abbas that President Barack Obama would re-engage as a mediator next year if Abbas abandoned the effort to seek statehood. An aide to Abbas says the Palestinian leader refused.
Ahead of today's vote, thousands of Palestinians from rival factions celebrated in the streets of the West Bank.
The vote won't immediately bring independence, but the Palestinians see it as a historic step in their effort to win global recognition.
The non-member observer status of the Palestinians could also open the way for possible war crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court.