Palestinians begin building international support for UDI
[TamilNet, Sunday, 02 January 2011, 10:40 GMT]
Frustrated by impasse in talks with Israel on a two-state solution, Palestinians have begun canvassing international support for a unilateral declaration of independence of the Gaza and West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the BBC reports. In recent weeks Brazil and its neighbours, Bolivia, Argentina and Ecuador, have all officially recognised Palestine as an independent state within these 1967 borders. Uruguay says it will do the same in 2011 and Palestinian officials suggest at least another two countries are lined up to follow suit. The United States is opposing the Palestinians approach, saying it is premature, but their efforts have been more successful with the EU.
The BBC quoted a recent EU statement as saying:
"We welcome the World Bank's assessment that ‘if the Palestinian Authority maintains its current performance in institution building and public services, it is well positioned for the establishment of a state at any point in the near future,’"
The EU has since also signed a new 31m-euro ($41m) financing deal to help the Palestinian Authority's much lauded drive to build the institutions of statehood.
Mercosur, the South American trade bloc signed a trade agreement with the Palestinians in December.
On Friday Palestinian President Abbas and outgoing Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva laid the cornerstone for the future Embassy of Palestine. (Brazil also controversially recognized Palestine's pre-1967 borders.)
The Palestinian strategy is one of quietly building international support for their cause.
This also includes, Palestinian officials say, non-violent opposition to Israel's occupation of the West Bank, pursuing reconciliation between rival Palestinian political factions and asking the UN to condemn Israeli settlements.
"The Israeli government is witnessing an international isolation that it hasn't witnessed before," Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told DPA. "And this is due to the efforts exerted by the Palestinian leadership.”
He denied, however, that the Palestinians would go to the UN Security Council this month.
Abbas on Friday called on the ‘Quartet’ of international power brokers to draft a new peace plan for the region that could help revive the failed US-backed negotiations with Israel.
The late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, unilaterally declared the establishment of a state in 1988, winning recognition from about 100 countries, mainly Arab, Communist and non-aligned states - several of them in Latin America.