UN expert calls for Palestine membership
The UN expert for the Palestinian territories Richard Falk on Thursday called on UN member states to recognise Palestine as a state, saying its right of self-determination should be respected.
In a statement, Falk "called on every United Nations Member State to recognise the reality of Palestinian statehood, and urged Israel to listen to the will of the Palestinian people."
"The upcoming debate on Palestine's initiative at the United Nations provides a momentous occasion for the international community to respond to a legacy of injustice," he said.
"The will of the Palestinian people must be respected too, starting this week at the United Nations and until Palestinians can enjoy the right they share with all other peoples of the world - the right to self-determination," added the special rapporteur.
In New York, Palestinian leaders are expected on Friday to make a bid for statehood at the United Nations.
The move is fiercely opposed by Israel, which accuses the Palestinians of trying to circumvent peace negotiations, and also by Washington, which has threatened to veto the move in the Security Council.
But Falk said the occasion presented an opportunity for Israel and the United States "to live up to the promise of the two-State solution.
"On so many past occasions, deliberate obstinacy has defeated efforts to resolve the conflict," he noted.
"Nearly 20 years of direct negotiations have actually given Israel time to undermine the two-State solution," said Falk, who is known for his criticisms of Israeli policies against the Palestinians.
© 2011 AFP