Thursday

19th Oct 2017

Palestine fed up with waiting for EU common position

  • Palestinian Authority chief Abbas will go ahead with the UN bid amid lack of EU unity on whether or not to support him (Photo: United Nations Photo)

Palestine's ambassador to the EU has said her leader, Mahmoud Abbas will on Friday (23 September) ask the UN Security Council for full UN membership despite last-minute British, French and US warnings not to go ahead.

Leila Shahid told EUobserver it remains unclear which EU countries will support the resolution or whether French President Nicolas Sarkozy's new three-step peace plan is an EU position or a purely French idea.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The Europeans have been taken aback by our decision but we are going ahead because we see they cannot agree with each other ... We can't give up our rights while we wait for the Europeans to be united. And we can't give up our rights because [US] President Obama has a presidential campaign coming up and wants to win votes," she said.

"[EU foreign relations chief] Ashton can't unite by force the 27 when they don't see eye to eye. She can't invent a foreign policy where there isn't one."

She spoke out after Sarkozy on Wednesday warned that seeking full UN membership will end with a US veto that "will engender a cycle of violence in the Middle East." He proposed instead the UN General Assembly gives Palestine "observer" status as an "intermediate stage" followed by a resumption of Arab-Israeli peace talks with a deadline of one year to reach agreement.

British leader David Cameron on Thursday took the US line that "No [UN] resolution can, on its own, substitute for the political will necessary to bring peace."

Not all the big players are giving Palestine the same advice, however.

Turkish deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc said in Brussels on Thursday that Turkey sees the Sarkozy plan as the same kind of stalling tactic as French calls for Turkey not to seek full EU membership: "What Sarkozy said to the Palestinians is the same thing he has been saying to Turkey ... This is wrong and his appeal to the Palestinians is also wrong."

For her part, the Palestinian ambassador said the US veto will not be the end of the UN process but "the beginning of a new phase" which could take weeks or months and could see Abbas also seek the French-model observer status later on.

"All the options are open ... Sarkozy proposed very specific options for timetables and so on. The speech was interesting and we will study the details very carefully. We will ask him to explain if this is a French proposal or a European one," she noted.

She added that no matter what happens, Palestine's decision to confront the US will help it to protect its borders against Israeli settlements.

"Friday is a big day. The world is turned over by the discussion on our status and the UN Security Council. It has brought Palestine back into the heart of talks about the whole region, about the positive developments in the Arab world. It has shown ... that Palestine is part and parcel of all this yearning by Arab society for a better future."

She said Israeli diplomats have tried to spook EU countries by telling them that if the UN upgrades Palestine, it will join the International Criminal Court and launch law suits against Israeli soldiers.

"Israel has been playing this game. The fact is that we want UN status in order to protect the borders of the Palestinian state, to protect East Jerusalem from annexation by Israel ... We want to protect what will one day be the Palestinian state because we have seen over the past 20 years that the peace talks have become almost an alibi for Israel to keep building settlements and walls and Israeli-only roads."

The Palestinians have kept the details of their draft UN resolution a secret until the last minute.

Shahid explained it will seek to define Palestinian borders on the basis of 1967 lines and reflect their "responsibility" for Israel's security. But it will not recognise Israel's right to exist as a "Jewish state." "We cannot recognise Israel as a Jewish state because 20 percent of its population are Arabs," she said.

Pointing to EU intervention in Libya, its past actions in Bosnia and Kosovo and its recognition of South Sudan, she noted that EU capitals would be guilty of "double standards" if they back down under Israeli pressure.

"Recognising Palestine is in the interest of the EU because with no Palestinian state there is no solution to the Palestinian-Israeli issue and no peace and stability in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean [region] is Europe's number one commercial, diplomatic, environmental and trade partner in the world. This is the Mediterranean. This is not a far away place like Asia or China."

Agenda

This WEEK in the European Union

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will give a State of the Union speech on Wednesday, at one of the most testing times ever in the EU's history.

EU pitches counter-offers to Palestinian statehood bid

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has unveiled an alternative proposal to a UN vote on recognising Palestine. But soft language on Israeli settlements and a competing French idea put the scheme in doubt.

Unesco vote highlights EU split on Palestine

Just five EU countries voted "No" on admitting Palestine to the UN heritage agency, Unesco, in an indication of loyalties on the big question of UN membership.

Interview

Palestine's UN upgrade coming back on EU agenda

The EU should get ready for Palestine's renewed push to upgrade its UN status and stop calling for "illusory" peace talks with Israel, a senior Palestinian politician has said.

Court hearing in MEPs 'private' expenses battle

The European parliament claims the media and public do not have a right to supervise or monitor the public role of MEPs, says Natasa Pirc Musar, a lawyer representing journalists, in a transparency battle against the assembly.

News in Brief

  1. EU summit moved to previous building after fumes scare
  2. Catalonia will 'not back down'
  3. New toxic incident in EU building ahead of summit
  4. Murdered Malta journalist's family invited to Parliament
  5. EU food safety chief denies keeping studies 'secret'
  6. EU states pledge 24,000 resettlement places so far
  7. US ready for arms sale to update Greece's F-16 fleet
  8. Austria's Green leaders step down following election failure

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. EU okays Privacy Shield's first year
  2. EU seeks to decrypt messages in new anti-terror plan
  3. EU agencies defend research ahead of glyphosate vote
  4. Spain points at elections as exit to Catalan crisis
  5. How EU can ensure Daphne Caruana Galizia's legacy survives
  6. Juncker dinner to warm up relations with eastern EU
  7. Court hearing in MEPs 'private' expenses battle
  8. The unbearable lightness of leadership

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA-EuropeMass Detention of Azeri LGBTI People - the LGBTI Community Urgently Needs Your Support
  2. European Free AllianceCatalans Have Won the Right to Have an Independent State
  3. ECR GroupBrexit: Delaying the Start of Negotiations Is Not a Solution
  4. EU2017EEPM Ratas in Poland: "We Enjoy the Fruits of European Cooperation Thanks to Solidarity"
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina and UK Discuss Deepening of Global Comprehensive Strategic Partnership
  6. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceEHLA Joins Commissioners Navracsics, Andriukaitis and Hogan at EU Week of Sport
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Representative Office Opens in Brussels to Foster Better Cooperation
  8. UNICEFSocial Protection in the Contexts of Fragility & Forced Displacement
  9. CESIJoin CESI@Noon on October 18 and Debate On: 'European Defence Union: What Next?'
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Support Start-Ups
  11. ILGA EuropeInternational Attention Must Focus on LGBTI People in Azerbaijan After Police Raids
  12. European Jewish CongressStrong Results of Far Right AfD Party a Great Concern for Germans and European Jews