France said Thursday that European nations were considering unilateral
recognition of a Palestinian state.
“Recognition of the state of
Palestine is one of the options which France is considering, with its European
partners, in a bid to relaunch the peace process,” AFP quoted French Ambassador
Gerard Araud as telling a UN Security Council debate on the Middle
Shoving, shouting at TA protest for Palestinian state
Landau: Israel should annex W. Bank if PA get statehood
By contrast, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging Israelis
and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table, reiterated her opposition
to a proposed UN declaration of Palestinian statehood.
“We do not support
any unilateral effort by the Palestinians to go to the United Nations to try to
obtain some authorization or approval vote with respect to statehood,” she told
PBS’s Charlie Rose in an interview late on Wednesday night. “We think we can
only achieve the two-state solution that we strongly advocate through negotiation.”
The Palestinians are threatening to seek a
unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN General Assembly when it opens in
In Paris, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday it would
“illogical” for the United States to block a Palestinian bid for statehood at
Clinton expressed her hope that “everyone would realize that
negotiations are the only way,” noting that US President Barack Obama “has said
that he will continue to press both sides, which is what we believe we have to
She described the regional turmoil as prompting both sides to hold
back and evaluate the effect the shake-up has had on their interests.
despite the recent tumult, she stressed that “it is in the best interest of both
the Israelis and the Palestinians, even in the midst of everything going on in
the region, to try to turn to the hard work” of striking a
Clinton’s comments came as US and Israeli officials jostle to fill
the diplomatic vacuum created by stalled talks and regional paralysis. Both
Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have been giving indications they
plan to lay out an initiative for making an Israeli- Palestinian deal, as they
seek to stave off momentum toward a General Assembly vote on Palestinian
The New York Time
s reported on Thursday that Republican
Speaker of the House John Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress
in late May was highlighting tension with Obama and had launched a “bizarre
diplomatic race” over whether Netanyahu or Obama would be the first to lay out a
new diplomatic initiative.
According to the story, the White House has
been debating for about three months whether Obama should propose a new
Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. The report said that both Obama and Clinton
favored the idea, while senior Middle East aide Dennis Ross opposed
Netanyahu was considering whether to “preempt” Obama with a proposal
of his own, according to the report.
The idea that there was a battle
over who would present the ideas first seemed to be belied by the fact that for
months Netanyahu has been coming under pressure from leading statesmen around
the world, including from the US, to take the initiative and present a plan to
break the diplomatic logjam.
At the end of February, aides close to
Netanyahu began saying he would present an initiative of his own in a major
policy address, possibly to Congress in May.
The aides have said ever
since that there has been close coordination between Israel and the US about the
Netanyahu and Obama spoke by phone on Monday and agreed to
talk again in the coming days, and officials in the Prime Minister’s Office
denied that there was tension between the two men as a result of the scheduled
address to Congress.
According to the Times
report, White House officials
were working on drafts of a proposal, but had not decided how detailed it would
be or even whether Obama would deliver it in a planned speech. The article said
that such a plan could include four principles: Israel’s acceptance of a
Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines; Palestinian acceptance that there
will be no refugee “right of return”; Jerusalem as a capital of both Israel and
a future Palestinian state; and that Israeli security would have to be
Martin Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel and a
Washington insider, warned on Army Radio Thursday that as things currently
stood, the Palestinians were on the path to an endorsement of their position in
the General Assembly – where, unlike in the UN Security Council, the US didn’t
wield a veto – come September.
“If there isn’t anything else, then in
September there will be a vote in the UN that will recognize a Palestinian
state, just like the UN recognized Israel in 1948,” he said.
it is very easy for the Palestinians to go to the UN – it doesn’t cost them
anything, and it puts pressure on Israel,” he assessed. “As a strategy, Israel
needs to think about the day after the vote.”
Still, he said the
prevailing view in Washington was that Netanyahu could make a successful
“It’s a challenge for him,” Indyk said, “but the
common opinion in Washington is that Netanyahu, as a man of the Right, is more
capable than others in Israeli politics to mobilize support from the Right and
the Left for a twostate solution.”
Abbas, in Paris for talks with French
leaders, noted that Washington already backs the formula of a Palestinian state
coexisting in peace alongside Israel to end the long-standing
“In principle we have a lot of signs that the United States is
ready to recognize the Palestinian state,” he told France 24 television in an
interview broadcast on Thursday. “If the United States is not ready, it would
not be coherent and logical.”
Abbas expressed optimism that the bid would
receive broad support, despite a lack of concrete promises from
“But all signals from these states and organizations show they
are waiting for the right time to recognize the Palestinian state,” he said. “We
are also waiting for the right time. We have gone beyond that because we think
that question should not hold up dialogue with the United States.”
meeting French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon,
Abbas told journalists that he had not raised the issue of statehood with the
president – adding that France’s position was clear.
A source in the
presidential office said Sarkozy had given Abbas his “clear support” for efforts
leading to the creation of a Palestinian state. Fillon said last month that 2011
“should be the year when a Palestinian state is created.”
contributed to this report.
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