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Israeli leader invites Palestinian president to talks today

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council says it will meet on Monday to examine the Palestinian application for full statehood recognition and membership.

Updated 21.22

ISRAELI LEADER BENJAMIN Netanyahu has invited Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to talks in New York today.

During his address to the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu said to Abbas, “Now we’re in the same city. We’re in the same building. Let’s do it today. In the United Nations.”

The Israeli prime minister said that while he was ready to make painful compromises for peace, the Palestinians must take Israel’s security concerns seriously.

Netanyahu opposes negotiations based on 1967 border lines, saying a return to those frontiers would expose Israel’s heartland to rocket fire from the West Bank.

It is still unclear if Abbas will accept Netanyahu’s offer to meet on the sidelines of the Assembly today.

Earlier today, Palestinians asked the United Nations to accept them as a full member state. The UN Security Council will meet on Monday to examine the application.

A decision was not expected for at least weeks or months but Abbas’ request for an expedited deliberation seems to have been answered.

It is understood that the US will strongly oppose the application and may even use its veto power.

Full membership bid

In the chambers, Abbas’ announcement that he had formally applied to the UN chief Ban Ki-moon for recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem was met by a standing ovation.

During his speech, Abbas said, “The time has come to end the suffering and the plight of millions of Palestine refugees in the homeland and the Diaspora, to end their displacement and to realise their rights, some of them forced to take refuge more than once in different places of the world.”

At a time when the Arab peoples affirm their quest for democracy – the Arab Spring – the time is now for the Palestinian Spring, the time for independence.”

Denouncing Israel’s settlement policy, Abbas went on to say that any future negotiations will be “meaningless” as long as Israel continues building on lands claims for an Palestinian state.

Thousands of jubilant, flag-waving Palestinians, watching Abbas on outdoor screens across the West Bank, cheered their president as he submitted his historic request.

However, the joy was cut short as violence erupted in the village of Qusra. Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian man during rock-throwing clashes between villagers and Israeli settlers, according to Associated Press’ witness accounts.

Here are some of the emotional scenes from the West Bank city of Ramallah today:

Israeli leader invites Palestinian president to talks today
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  • West Bank City of Ramallah

  • West Bank City of Ramallah

  • West Bank City of Ramallah

  • West Bank City of Ramallah

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