Parliamentary EDM and Palestinian statehood

Parliamentary EDM and Palestinian statehood

In the the buildup toward the submission of the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas there was much speculation as to what would happen.

It is now becoming increasingly clearer how the bid will be received and acted upon by various member-states, whether at the Security Council or the General Assembly, and the demarche it might follow eventually.

What should matter for us Europeans is the 27-strong EU position in general, and the British role within it.

For those involved in politics, whether as SPADs, NGOs, CROs and the media, or as constituents UK-wide for whom the Middle East and North Africa region and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict matters too, Parliamentary Early Day Motion EDM 2135 will undoubtedly be of significance.

This Early Day Motion is sponsored by Ann Clwyd and co-sponsored by five other MP's. To date, it has garnered around 100 signatures - the last time I checked, that included 66 Labour, 15 Liberal Democrat, four Conservative and eight others.

This is the full text of the EDM:

PALESTINIAN MEMBERSHIP OF THE UNITED NATIONS

That this House recalls the target set by President Obama last year of welcoming `a new member of the United Nations - an independent sovereign state of Palestine' by September 2011, a target also endorsed by the EU and the Quartet; notes that the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations and EU have all reported that Palestine is ready for statehood; recalls that Palestinian negotiators entered talks with Israel and offered substantial concessions; regrets that talks broke down because of Prime Minister Netanyahu's refusal to extend even a partial freeze on illegal settlement-building; further notes that Palestinians have recognised Israel since 1993 despite Israel's refusal to recognise a Palestinian state; further notes that 122 countries with nearly 90 per cent. of the world's population now recognised Palestine and even among Israelis 48 per cent. support recognition and only 41 per cent. oppose; and concludes that the way forward is to recognise an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel and support its admission to the UN because this will be the most effective guarantor of a resumption of negotiations and will also be the best protector of the rights not only of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, but also of Palestinians living in Israel and of Palestinian refugees abroad.

It is of course up to individuals to decide whether you would support this EDM in its current language and format, or urge others to do the same.

But let us simply remember that we in Europe donate 1 billion Euros toward the Palestinian Authority and this could reasonably translate into a political say by us about the future of the conflict in a way that would be synchronous with our views, aspirations and positions toward the 'Arab Spring', as well as being a helpful key toward unlocking the two-state solution that ultimately must be decided by negotiations.

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© Harry Hagopian is an international lawyer, ecumenist and EU political consultant. He also acts as a Middle East and inter-faith advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales and as Middle East consultant to ACEP (Christians in Politics) in Paris. He is an Ekklesia associate and regular contributor (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/HarryHagopian). Formerly an Executive Secretary of the Jerusalem Inter-Church Committee and Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches, he is consultant to the Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (UK) and author of The Armenian Church in the Holy Land. Dr Hagopian’s own website is www.epektasis.net

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