Palestinian president says Europeans moving towards recognition of Palestinian state

Europe may be caving in to Palestinian pressure for the recognition of a Palestinian state outside the framework of direct negotiations.

The Commentator
On 22 April 2011 07:12

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, has said that several European countries are poised to recognise an independent Palestinian state in line with a Palestinian push for a resolution on such lines at the General Assembly of the United Nations in September.

Mr. Abbas made his remarks in an exclusive interview with France 24 television ahead of a meeting in Paris with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“We can’t say that certain organisations or countries promised to recognise a Palestinian state,” Mr. Abbas said. “But all the signs they are sending show that they are awaiting the right moment to do so. You notice that a certain number of European countries have recently sent additional delegations and official representatives to the Palestinian territories. From our side, we are already treating them like ambassadors.”

The validity of Mr. Abbas’s comments was confirmed by remarks from French ambassador to the United Nations Gerard Araud.

“Recognition of the state of Palestine is one of the options which France is considering, with its European partners, with a view to creating a political horizon for relaunching the peace process," Ambassador Araud said at a UN Security Council debate on the Middle East on Thursday.

The French newspaper Liberation said Mr. Araud had created a “sensation” with his remarks. “Pressure is mounting from all sides for the quick recognition of a Palestinian state,” the paper said.

Israel is deeply concerned about the prospect of a Palestinian state emerging outside the framework of direct negotiations. The United States is opposed to such a move but the Palestinians are hoping for a critical mass of support inside the United Nations so as to achieve the outlines of a state without having to make concessions in peace talks.

European countries are seen as crucial in giving credibility to a UN resolution on the matter.

Israel says recognition of a Palestinian state could re-ignite violence by giving Palestinian terror groups a pretext for renewed attacks in the likely eventuality that Israel ignores any such UN resolution.

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