Abbas Expects UN Statehood Decision Within Weeks

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Despite growing opposition and calls for continued peace talks, President Mahmoud Abbas has formally asked the United Nations to accept the Palestinians as a full member state.

Saturday, he told reporters he expects the U.N. to make a decision within weeks, rather than months.

The bid is increasing tensions in the Middle East.

CBN founder Pat Robertson is issuing an urgent call to Christians to pray for the nation of Israel as the U.N considers the vote on Palestinian statehood.

Yet, Israel and the U.S. have stood their ground, demanding statehood can only happen through direct negotiations.

Abbas spoke to the United Nations Friday, asking leaders to recognize a Palestinian State in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

He hopes the world body will bypass negotiations and grant the Palestinians an independent homeland.

"We have one goal -- to be. And we shall be," Abbas said.

Click play to watch Mark Martin's report, followed by analysis from CBN News Mideast Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell.

Full membership can only be approved by the U.N. Security Council.

Abbas' bid for Palestinian Statehood is expected to fail in that 15-member body -- either by not winning the nine needed votes or by a U.S. veto.

The United Nations General Assembly would likely then be asked to approve a more modest upgrade in the status of the Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the U.N. after Abbas, saying he hoped to "shine the light of truth in a hall of darkness."

He said Israel extends peace to the Palestinians, but his country has serious security concerns in granting Abbas' request due to past violence against the Jewish people.

Netanyahu says giving away territory only brings a "militant Islamic storm" closer.

"I came here to speak the truth. The truth is that Israel wants peace... peace must be anchored in security," he said. "The truth is that we cannot achieve peace through U.N. resolutions, but only through direct negotiations between the parties."

Abbas says Israeli settlements block the movement toward peace.

The Palestinian president warns his government could collapse if Israel continues construction on lands the Palestinians want for a future state.

Yet, Netanyahu says the core of the conflict is Abbas' refusing to recognize Israel in any borders.

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Mark Martin

Mark Martin

CBN News Reporter

Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.