Published on 23 Sep 2011 Sections , ,

West Bank Palestinian ‘shot dead’ by Israeli police

The Israeli army says it is checking reports security forces shot dead a Palestinian in the West Bank as the Palestinian Authority prepares to submit an application for statehood to the UN.

The incident is reported to have taken place in Qusra, southeast of the Palestinian city of Nablus. Hany Abu Murad, the mayor of the village where the shooting is said to have happened, named the dead person as Essam Kamal Badran, 35.

The news comes as security has been tightened in the West Bank ahead of an expected Palestinian application for state recognition at the UN.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to ask the United Nations to recognise a state for his people, even though Israel still occupies its territory and the United States has vowed to veto the move.

In what he may see as a date with destiny, Mr Abbas will hand UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon an application for full UN membership, which the security council must then consider.

Mr Abbas has been under intense pressure from the UK and France among others, to water down the bid.

Abbas, who has won new popularity at home for his determined stance, accepts that negotiations are necessary, but argues statehood will put Palestinians on a more equal footing.

Israel sees the initiative at the United Nations as a sinister attempt to shear away its own legitimacy.

His appeal to the council reflects a loss of faith after 20 years of failed peace talks sponsored by the United States, Israel’s main ally, and alarm at relentless Israeli settlement expansion that is eating into the land Palestinians want for a state.

It also exposes Washington’s dwindling influence in a region shaken by Arab uprisings and shifting alliances that have pushed Israel, for all its military muscle, deeper into isolation.

Mr Abbas is expected to set out his case in a speech to the UN General Assembly, where Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will also take the podium to argue that only direct negotiations between the two sides can lead to a Palestinian state.

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