Seeking greater international recognition for Palestine has been an important move in Mahmoud Abbas’s aim of returning to negotiations with Israel. His application for full membership of UNESCO last year – reported here – though blocked by the USA, reminded the international community of the need to nurture the peace process in the Middle East.
Press TV reports the rejection of a call by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt the Palestinian request for the status of non-member observer state status for Palestine at the United Nations; Mahmoud Abbas is to apply to the UN and will almost certainly succeed because the General Assembly has a strong pro-Palestine majority.
Europe has supported the Palestinian statehood in the hope that this would lead to a peaceable two-state solution. But in past European countries – particularly France, Britain and Germany – have failed to form a unanimous front. The recent trade agreement with Israel disappointed many.
Abbas – seen as the best hope of peace – said that, while he was president, there would be “no third armed intifada. Never . . . We don’t want to use terror. We don’t want to use force. We don’t want to use weapons. We want to use diplomacy. We want to use politics. We want to use negotiations. We want to use peaceful resistance. That’s it.”
If the Palestinians win recognition by the General Assembly, under international law Israel would no longer be occupying territory in dispute, it would be occupying another state.