PEOPLE TAKE part in a protest against Israel in Malaga, Spain, on August 8. The words on the shirt read ‘Netanyahu must be judged. Second Zionist-Nazi Holocaust.’.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An Israeli petition calling on the Spanish parliament to recognize a Palestinian state in November, when it is expected to hold a nonbinding vote on the matter, is gaining steam on the Internet, garnering 469 signatures.
Among those spearheading the Israeli initiative is former Foreign Ministry director-general Alon Liel, in hopes that Palestinian statehood recognition would help break the stalemate in the peace process.
“We are horrified by the possibility, almost a reality, of a single state,” Liel told The Jerusalem Post
on Tuesday. “We are afraid that such a state will end up being an apartheid state.”
There is broad consensus in the international community that the two-state solution should be based on the pre-1967 lines, with some land swaps, Liel said as he called on the Israeli government to accept this position as well.
Parliamentary initiatives to support a Palestinian state are growing, as the peace process remains deadlocked with no apparent prospects of renewed negotiations.
Last week, the Upper House of the Irish parliament passed a nonbinding resolution calling on its government to recognize Palestine as a state. It followed a similar vote by the British House of Commons this month.
A petition similarly circulated by Liel in advance of the British vote received 363 signatures.
This month, the Swedish government also made waves when it said it would soon recognize Palestine as a state.
But in spite of the parliamentary votes, the UK and Ireland have not recognized Palestine as a state. The British government has maintained its position that recognition should be granted only at the conclusion of a negotiated final-status agreement that ends the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Spanish government concurs with the UK. Former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar this weekend published an opinion piece in the The Times of London against parliamentary initiatives to recognize Palestine as a state.
A majority of the international community, 138 nations, already recognize Palestine as a state. But to date, only three EU member states have done so – Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
They took that stance before joining the EU.
But in spite of the support, the UN has yet to accept Palestine as a member state.
To seek membership status the PA must secure the support of the UN Security Council. In January, Spain will become one of the 15 nations with UNSC membership.
Aznar warned that “recognizing Palestine as a state in the face of Hamas’s attacks on Israel is detrimental to peace.”
In his opinion piece in the The Times Aznar wrote, “Nevertheless many countries are today indulging in a ‘recognition now’ policy” with regard to a Palestinian state.
Aznar predicted, “We should expect similar moves to these across Europe. No matter how well intentioned these initiatives are, recognizing a Palestinian state now is inappropriate, counterproductive and unwarranted. It will not promote peace and it will not boost a negotiated solution. This is why: First, recognizing Palestine will induce the Palestinians to stray from a negotiated solution, given the fact that a hard line has got them this far,” Aznar said.
Such “feel good statements,” he said, only encourage the PA to resist negotiating with Israel.
These parliamentary initiatives, he said, “unfairly put pressure only on Israel.”
He blamed the stalemate in the peace process on PA President Mahmoud Abbas, charging that he failed to accept a US framework document, united with Hamas and demanded unacceptable concessions from Jerusalem.
“Israel is today a bulwark against jihadism, and Western countries need the support of Israel against this and other threats to global security,” Aznar said He echoed Netanyahu when he stated that Hamas and Islamic State are “parts of the same Islamist front” which the West should not legitimize.
He called on leaders of “free nations” to reject unilateral moves and to urge Israelis and Palestinians to resume direct bilateral talks.
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