The Palestinians plan on asking the U.N. General Assembly for non-member state status, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared on Friday during a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande in Paris.
During the press conference, Abbas said that if his terms were met by the Israeli government, the two sides could resume talks. “If Israel agrees to release prisoners and allow the Palestinian Authority to import weapons for its police force, we may be able to sit down and talk with Mr. [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu," he said.
However, Abbas made a clear distinction between renewing dialogue with Israel and resuming negotiations, stating that the terms for negotiations were an end to building settlements and an official recognition by Israel of the 1967 borders as the borders of a future Palestinian state. "The ball is in Netanyahu's court," Abbas said. "We are going to face many obstacles along the way."
Newly elected French President Francois Hollande responded to Abbas' comments, telling reporters, "Today, we must do everything to facilitate the recognition of a Palestinian state via a negotiated process. I affirm this before President Abbas: Dialogue must start again and the sooner the better."
Over the weekend, Palestinian Observer to the U.N. Riyad Mansour also told reporters at the U.N. headquarters in New York that the issue of recognition of a Palestinian state would return to the organization's agenda for further discussion.
In September 2011, Abbas petitioned the U.N. Security Council for recognition of “Palestine” as a full member state of the U.N. The request was highly contested, prompting U.S. President Barack Obama to threaten that the U.S. would veto any vote in favor of this. The petition was eventually blocked before it came to a vote.
Abbas' intention to ask for non-member state status can be seen as the first step in Palestinian plans for full statehood: As a non-member state, the Palestinian Authority would essentially be recognized as a sovereign state by the U.N., and would be allowed to petition for full member status at a later date.