Palestinian Leader Warns of Reaction to Israel Settlement Plans

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas addresses the Turkish Parliament in Ankara on December 10, 2012. The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly backed a resolution to recognise Palestine as a non-member observer state, a move Abbas said on December 5, 2012 was part of “a last chance” for a negotiated two-state solution. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

ANKARA, Dec 10, 2012 (AFP) – Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Monday vowed to respond if Israel moves ahead with plans to build 3,000 settler homes in east Jerusalem after the Palestinians won non-member observer status at the United Nations.

“If it becomes a reality … we will then respond through other means,” Abbas told the Turkish parliament, without elaborating, referring to the Israelis’ decision to expand settlements which he said aimed at “punishing” Palestinians.

Last month, the UN General Assembly backed a resolution to recognise Palestine as a non-member observer state.

Israel has criticised the UN vote as an obstacle to efforts to reach a peace accord and revealed plans to build the 3,000 new homes a day after the Palestinians’ historic success at the United Nations.

“We want to give peace a chance,” Abbas said in remarks translated from Arabic, and called for a fully independent state.

“We are only at the beginning now and there is a long way ahead of us but we are proceeding on a right path,” he added.

“We are on a right path that will lead us to a fully independent Palestinian state.”

The visit marks Abbas’s first trip abroad after the UN vote.

Turkey welcomed the upgrading of the Palestinians’ status as a “significant step” and called for an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Abbas is expected to meet with Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Tuesday.

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