Palestine Daily, Dec 18: Pressure Increases on Israel as Resolution for Palestinian State Submitted to UN

Israel suffered a series of diplomatic setbacks on Wednesday, as a resolution for a State of Palestine was submitted to the UN Security Council and the European Parliament gave qualified recognition of Palestinian independence.

Jordan submitted the draft resolution on Wednesday, calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank by 2017.

Despite a US threat to veto the resolution, but it was submitted after a day of closed-door negotiations among Arab members of the UN.

The text can be put to a vote within 24 hours; however, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, said Palestine is open to further negotiations.

Pointing to broad support of the resolution, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said it was a modified version of a French-sponsored draft, rather than one originally written by the Palestinians and the Arab League.

“France said it wants to go to the Security Council with us because the proposal will deal with all the problems that existed over the past 20 years of negotiations,” al-Malki said. “It believes a ceiling to end negotiations and end the occupation is the best process now, because direct negotiations have proven to be futile.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the submission of the resolution was “an act of aggression” and would change nothing between Israel and Palestine:

The UN Security Council should concern itself with the real important issues, like the welfare of the citizens of the world, how to deal with the murderous terrorist acts such as those that occurred in Australia and Pakistan this week, or deliberate what has been happening in Syria and Libya, instead of wasting its time with the Palestinians’ gimmicks.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament gave another boost to Palestine’s campaign, with an overwhelming vote supporting “in principle” recognition of a State of Palestine.

The measure, which also calls for further negotiations between Israel and the Palestine, passed 498-88, with 111 abstentions.

In Switzerland, a conference of signatories of the Geneva Conventions said Israel must respect international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israel and the US tried to block the conference, but 126 states issued a 10-point declaration calling on Israel to “fully and effectively” respect the 4th Geneva convention and protect civilians during times of war, including in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.

Meanwhile, the European Union’s second-highest court ordered the removal of Hamas from a terrorist blacklist, citing legal problems with the designation. The assets of the organization, which has political leadership in Gaza, will remain frozen for three months pending an expected appeal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded, “In Geneva they call for the investigation of Israel for war crimes, while in Luxembourg the EU court removed Hamas from the terror list….It seems that too many in Europe, on whose soil 6 million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing.”

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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