Palestinians welcome EU readiness to recognize Palestinian state

20:56, December 13, 2010      

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The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) welcomed a European Union Foreign Ministers' statement made in Brussels on Monday that Europe is ready to recognize an independent Palestinian state unilaterally, while Israel expressed deep concerns.

The EU foreign ministers are debating on Monday a bill based on recognizing an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, if Israel and the Palestinians fail to reach a permanent peace treaty within one year.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat announced that he addressed a written letter to the EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton, urging the EU to recognize an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Erekat reiterated that there has to be a EU recognition of the two-state vision and to urge the Israeli government to stop all settlement's activities in the Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem. "If the EU carries out such an action, it would encourage the implementation of the two-state vision," he said.

Meanwhile, Abbas Zaki, member the central committee of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, told Xinhua that Fatah movement welcomes the EU decision "which is very important for the moment."

"Europe understands that the Palestinians have the right to establish an independent state by abiding by the international resolutions, and recognizing a Palestinian state would serve its interests," said Zaki.

He called on the European countries "to make their positions clearer towards the Palestinian cause. These positions have to be distinctive from the U.S. position that opposes the establishment of the Palestinian state."

Fatah leaders expressed hope that the decision of the EU countries to recognize the independent Palestinian state "would be a big leap towards resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict regardless of the U.S. position which is biased in favor of Israel. "

Meanwhile, Israel expressed concerns over the EU foreign ministers' debates over their unilateral recognition of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in case Israel and the Palestinians fail to reach a permanent peace agreement within one year.

Israeli Radio quoted an official source in the Israeli government as saying that Israel had tried to foil the EU declaration by urging the EU foreign ministers to issue "a more balanced statement," adding "Such a decision would lead to a whole stop of the peace process."

The source said that "If the European Union takes a decision to recognize an independent Palestinian state, the peace process would collapse and the track of peace supported by the United States would fail, adding "the U.S. would oppose any European decision in this respect."

Last week, Brazil and Argentina declared their readiness to recognize an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967. The Palestinians welcomed the Latin American countries' declaration, while Israel and the U.S. opposed.

The United States, which sponsors the Middle East peace process, launched in Washington on Sept. 2 direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians quitted the talks one month later after Israel refused to freeze settlement constructions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinians have threatened that if Israel refused to stop freeze settlement construction, they would adopt other diplomatic options, mainly demanding the UN Security Council to recognize an independent Palestinian state. Israel has warned the Palestinians not to carry out such actions.

Source: Xinhua
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