E.U Says It Backs Palestinian State, But Split On UN Vote
Thursday November 29, 2012 20:47 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
The European Union expressed direct support of a Palestinian state, but not all of its 27 countries will be voting for upgrading Palestine’s status at the United Nations, to become a full member state.
E.U Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, said that the Union repeatedly expressed support for Palestine to become a full member state at the United Nations as part of a comprehensive solution to the conflict, but added that the EU will recognize Palestine as a state “when appropriate”.
She added that a lasting peace and a political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict can only be achieved through direct peace talks.
The Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Germany said that they will vote NO, but Germany later changed its position and decided to abstain similar to the position of Britain.
On the other hand, Spain, Italy and France said they will vote YES, and stated that they expect that at least 11 EU countries will vote for the Palestinian bid.
Meanwhile, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania (Baltic States) said that they will abstain, and also stated that it is a shame the European Union could not make a unified stance regarding the Palestinian bid, and also stated that “The Palestinian bid at the United Nations will not positively change the situation between the Palestinians and Israel”, the Now Lebanon news agency reported.
On her part, Ashton said that the European Union and several countries in the region know that peace can be achieved through negotiations based on the two-state solution.
She said that the EU urges all parties in the conflict to “refrain from actions that could undermine the peace process”.
Ashton further stated that the European Union will not recognize any changes on the 1967 border (due to Israel’s ongoing settlement activities, and due to the fact that Israel has not set borders), and added that only a negotiated peace agreement will determine fundamental issues such as border and the refugees.
She also said that, as part of the Quartet Committee (The United States, The European Union, the United Nations and Russia), the EU will be actively involved in ensuring the resumption of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in the coming few months.
Despite the differences in the stances of EU countries, the Palestinians will very likely win the bid due to a majority backing of most of the 193 UN member states.
Israel and its strongest ally the United States are leading an international campaign against the bid, and even threatened to impose sanctions against the Palestinian Authority, yet, mots UN member states said they would vote “Yes” for Palestine.
The Palestinian Authority and its President, Mahmoud Abbas, said that bids filed to the United Nations are not meant to replace peace talks, or to isolate Israel, but are part of the legitimate Palestinian political moves that aim at achieving internationally guaranteed rights of liberty and independence.
Abbas said that peace talks with Israel can only be resumed when Tel Aviv stops its violations, including its ongoing invasions, home demolitions, the construction and expansion of settlements, and all violations carried out by the Israeli army and Israeli settlers living in occupied Palestine.