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Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:50PM
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (R) and acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmud Abbas (L) meet in Ankara, December 21, 2011.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (R) and acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmud Abbas (L) meet in Ankara, December 21, 2011.

Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas has travelled to Turkey, the first of such trips abroad after Palestinians won a status upgrade at the United Nations, Press TV reports. In a joint press conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Ankara on Tuesday, Abbas urged Israel to stop settlement expansion on Palestinian land. The Palestinian Chief noted that, “by building new settlements, Israel violates international treaties, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel has to choose between occupation, expansion of settlements and comprehensive peace.” “We will not resort to violence. We are committed to peaceful resistance. However, many other options are on the table. We may consider them if Israel continues settlement construction,” he further pointed out. The Turkish president said that Israel is becoming more isolated in the international community. “Israel should learn his lesson in this vote. Israel should see how isolated it has become in the world and how it has become a burden to the states supporting it. Unfortunately, we see Israel acting with aggression and we condemn Israel’s move to build new settlements in the West Bank,” Gul added. On November 29, the 193-member UN General Assembly voted 138-9 with 41 abstentions to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer state. Turkey hailed the Palestinian upgraded status, considering the victory as a “significant step.” “Now is the time to restore permanent peace in the region,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on December 1, adding that the establishment of a Palestinian state was a prerequisite for achieving peace in the Middle East. “We hope that the Palestinian flag will be hoisted at the United States with full member status.” The UN vote is seen as a long-sought victory for the Palestinians, but an embarrassing diplomatic defeat for the Israeli regime and the United States. The observer state status grants Palestinians access to UN agencies and the International Criminal Court, where they can file formal complaints against the Israeli regime. TNP/SZH
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