EU Parliament Recognizes Palestinian Statehood
by Stephen Lendman
On Wednesday, European parliamentarians endorsed Palestinian statehood. Symbolically. In principle. A compromise motion.
Carrying overwhelmingly - 498 to 88 with 111 abstentions. More on this below.
An estimated 134 nations recognize Palestinian statehood. Sweden the latest to join ranks with others. The first EU country to do so.
Britain, France, Spain and Portugal extended unofficial/symbolic parliamentary recognition. So did Ireland.
Denmark surprised. It was expected to followed suit. Not now. Maybe later. Along with perhaps other European countries.
Has the train left the station? Is Israel’s tide going out? Is Palestine headed for official statehood recognition? Despite strong Israeli/US objections?
Washington opposes Palestine's statehood. Within June 1067 borders. Wanting occupation ended in two years.
Expect it to use its Security Council veto if needed. One-sidedly supporting Israel. Like dozens of times before.
PLO officials submitted a joint Palestinian/French text. Removing recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
On Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki stopped short of saying Washington would veto Palestine's bid.
PLO Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, said (French) draft text language "will be presented to the Security Council (Wednesday)."
"(A)s a blueprint. (T)o be put to a vote 24 hours after that." Israel insists Palestine recognize it as a Jewish State. PLO officials refuse.
They began circulating text language end of September. Testing the waters. Diplomats said the original Arab League-backed text setting November 2017 as an end of occupation deadline had no chance of approval.
France got involved. With Britain and Germany. Discussing options. Including a timeframe for negotiations.
According to PLO official Mohammed Shtayyeh, France "accommodated" some Palestinian wishes. In draft text language. Not as many as wanted. Perhaps not enough to matter.
Psaki said Washington opposes resolutions "prejudg(ing) the outcome of negotiations."
On Tuesday, Kerry met with chief Palestinian negotiator/longtime Israeli collaborator Saeb Erekat in London. Following discussions, he said:
"(N)o determinations (were made) about language, approaches, specific resolutions, any of that."
"What we're trying to do is have a constructive conversation with everybody to find the best way to go forward."
"We want to find the most constructive way of doing something. (What won't) have unintended consequences, but also can stem the violence."
An unnamed Palestinian official called talks "difficult." Kerry insisted on no two-year timetable. Calling for Israel's withdrawal.
Washington consistently supports Israeli wishes. Kerry wants peace negotiations continued.
Palestinian statehood if and when Israel agrees. Code language for unconditional PLO surrender.
According to Fatah central committee member Mohammad Shtayyeh:
"The United States does not want a Palestinian state, and does not want to use the veto either. It is avoiding it by preventing us from collecting nine votes."
Netanyahu met Kerry in Rome. Applied enormous pressure.
Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister, Yuval Steinitz, said he "assume(s) an anti-Israeli proposal will draw a US veto."
"That's how it's always been. That's what we hope will happen" this time.
On Sunday, Netanyahu called the PLO resolution "dangerous.
(B)ring(ing) the radical Islamic elements to the suburbs of Tel Aviv and to the heart of Jerusalem."
"We will not allow this. We will rebuff this forcefully and responsibly. Let there be no doubt, this will be rejected."
"In recent years we have rebuffed recurrent attempts to dictate conditions to us that would have harmed Israel's security and which are incompatible with genuine peace."
"This time we will not accept attempts to dictate to us unilateral moves on a limited timetable."
"In the reality in which Islamic terrorism is reaching out to all corners of the globe, we will rebuff any attempt that would put this terrorism inside our home, inside the State of Israel."
"(I've made this) this unequivocally clear. We will stand firm in the face of any diktat."
The European Parliament's resolution said the following:
The body "supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced."
Resolution language urged Fatah and Hamas "end internal divisions." Highlighting "the importance of consolidating the authority of the Palestinian consensus government."
Left of center parliamentarians urged recognition without pre-conditions. Israeli/Palestinian negotiations accomplish nothing.
One-way every time. Israel doesn't negotiate. It demands. Symbolic Palestinian statehood support matters only if it advances things closer to eventual official recognition.
According to European parliamentarian Richard Howitt:
"European recognition of Palestinian statehood is not an alternative to either a two-state solution or to peace talks to achieve it but gives a vital impetus to both."
Voting came after the European Court of Justice ordered Hamas remove from the EU terrorist blacklist. On technical grounds.
Its ruling said:
"The General Court finds that the contested measures (maintaining Hamas on the European list of terrorist organizations) are based not on acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities but on factual imputations derived from the press and the internet."
The ruling came over four years after Hamas appealed its unjust EU designation. Citing a lack of due process. Its status as a "legitimately elected government."
Labeling it a terrorist organization flies in the face of "the principle of non-intervention in the internal members of a State."
An EU funding freeze remains in place. f\For another three months. Before lifting it entirely.
What never should have been imposed in the first place. Or Hamas designated a terrorist organization. Yielding to Israeli pressure.
Israel has two months to appeal. Hamas is Palestine's legitimate government. Democratically elected overwhelmingly. In January 2006.
Labeling it a terrorist organization is false. Malicious. Uncalled for. Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq praised the ruling.
Righting an injustice, he said. Calling Hamas a "national freedom movement." Not a terrorist organization.
Israel responded as expected. Likud MK/World Likud chairman Danny Danon lied, saying:
"The Europeans must believe that their blood is more sacred than the blood of the Jews which they see as unimportant."
"That is the only way to explain the EU court's decision to remove Hamas from the terror blacklist."
"In Europe they must have forgotten that Hamas kidnapped three boys and fired thousands of rockets last summer at Israeli citizen."
Hamas had nothing to do with the June kidnappings and murders. Or preemptively firing rockets at Israel. Acting only after numerous IDF provocations. In self-defense.
Netanyahu issued a statement saying:
"We expect (European parliamentarians) to immediately put Hamas back on the list."
Outrageously calling Hamas "a murderous terrorist organization." Repeating his usual Big Lie about it wanting to destroy Israel.
Claiming it long ago wore thin. Palestinian liberation remains distant. US support for Israel is firm.
Petitioning Security Council members for long denied justice is futile. As long as US veto power prevails.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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