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UN Vote: Israel Regrets “Loss of Europe’s Support” …

  • November 30th, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

un-assembly.pngThe United Nations General Assembly was close to consensus in its vote on Thursday to give observer status to Palestine.

The resolution was supported by 138 member states, with nine against (including Israel itself and the United States), and 41 abstentions (including Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom).

“Israel lost Europe’s support”, said a commentary in the authoritative Haaretz daily, quoting sources in the Israeli Ministry.

“As the hours wore on Thursday, the magnitude of the Israeli defeat in the United Nations General Assembly became continually clearer …”, it said.

“A few hours before the vote, officials in Jerusalem understood that Israel was left without any Western support except for the United States, Canada and the Czech Republic …

“The erosion of Israeli support and shift to the Palestinians started a few days ago in France …

“Despite previous declarations, France announced that instead of abstaining, it would vote in favour of recognising Palestine as a non-member state – an observer state without full membership in the United Nations.

“Sixteen members of the European Union have announced their support for the Palestinian move: Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, Luxembourg, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Malta, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Belgium, Sweden, Germany and Greece all joined France in the past few days. Norway and Switzerland, which are not members of the European Union, also announced their support for the Palestinian request.

“The UN General Assembly resolution recognizes Palestine within the 1967 borders as a non-member observer state …”

The week began in Australia with indications the government would line up with America and vote no, a position being taken by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

Intensive consultations followed within the government, with a former Foreign Minister, Gareth Evans, and formed Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, a redoubtable friend of Israel, brought in; producing in the end a resolution, for the abstention.

Arguments from Israel and the United States had been that “separate state” status for Palestine was to be part of on-going peace negotiations, currently suspended.

The UN vote would be pre-emptive and actually set back the process.

The Palestinian authority said the vote had actually been a “last chance” to achieve a peace with two states; crowds celebrated in the streets in the Palestinian territories.

A side issue was highlighted by the British government which said it even would have voted yes, if it had been able to get a guarantee from the Palestinians that they would not capitalise on the result to also join the International Criminal Court – as a platform for action against Israel.

Guarantees not forthcoming the United Kingdom joined the abstainers.
Reference
Le Monde, Paris, “L’ONU se prononce sur le statut d’observateur de la Palestine” (UN deciding on observer status for Palestine), 29.11.12.www.lemonde.fr, (30.11.12).
Barak Ravid, “Continental drift: the UN vote – how Israel lost Europe’s support”, Haaretz, Tel Aviv,29.11.12.  http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/continental-drift-the-un-vote-how-israel-lost-europe-s-support.premium-1.481544, (30.11.12).

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