OPINION

EU must support Palestinian bid

A year ago, US President Barack Obama told the UN?s 64th General Assembly, ?When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that can lead to a new member of the United Nations, an independent, sovereign state of Palestine.?

Washington?s intention to veto the Palestinian UN application submitted by President Mahmoud Abbas questions the credibility of the USA, and President Obama personally, as an unbiased mediator in the Middle East dispute. The decision by President Obama was a disappointment for the Palestinian people. President Abbas has said clearly and repeatedly that by taking the issue to the UN, we do not aspire to engage in a confrontation with the USA or question the legitimacy of Israel, but to question the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory on the 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem. Furthermore, President Abbas has stressed that he does not object to resuming negotiations with Israel, provided that Benjamin Netanyahu?s government accepts the political context set by the international community. In other words, halt the illegal settlements on Palestinian territory, end the Gaza blockade, and agree on a fixed time frame for reaching a final settlement.

Negotiations have reached a deadlock because of Israeli intransigence. Ongoing settlement will bring us to a situation where there will be no more Palestinian land to negotiate. Netanyahu is procrastinating in a bid to buy time and build settlements on more and more of our territory. The Palestinian leadership had to explore alternative policies so as to rescue the peace process.

We chose to resort to the UN as a legal initiative, so the international community would face its historical responsibilities toward the Palestinian people. It was at the UN that the Palestinian issue was raised in 1947, and it is at the UN that it must be solved. And it must be solved now.

The Palestinian leadership has over the previous years sought the recognition of Palestinian statehood with diplomatic and peaceful means. Everybody acknowledges that our leadership is the voice of moderation and peace. The American veto is a veto on justice. And it may have undesirable ramifications for all, as wisely pointed out by French President Nicolas Sarkozy during his UN speech.

The European Union is called upon — and it has a moral obligation — to support this campaign of the Palestinian people, as it has supported and continues to support the fight of Arab peoples during the Arab Spring.

We would like to thank Greece and the Greek people, and all its political parties, for the continuous support for the Palestinian people?s fight for freedom, independence and peace.

* Samir Abu Ghazala is the Palestinian ambassador to Greece.