UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Friday, 19 October 2012

UN Recognition of Palestine - How you can help

According to a report in yesterday's Guardian, the UK is helping the US is a behind-the-scenes diplomatic attempt to force President Mahmoud Abbas to back down in his November 15th bid to win United Nations recognition for Palestinian statehood:

President Abbas announced in his speech on September 27th to the United Nations General Assembly that he would seek a vote on UN recognition of Palestine as a state but made it clear he would not force a vote before the US elections on November 6th.

The motion to recognise Palestine as a state should win easily in the General Assembly as 132 or the 193 countries already recognise Palestine bilaterally and up to 150 countries may vote for it.

The US is threatening to withold its 22% contribution to Palestine Authority budget if they go ahead with a vote and the Israel government will refuse to hand over tax and customs revenue which legally belong to PA, as they did when Palestine was admitted to UNESCO.

If Britain and other major European powers stood up to these bullying tactics and voted for Palestinian statehood, it would make almost impossible for the US to force the Palestinians into submission.

Instead it appears William Hague is doing the work of the US government who, in turn, are doing the work of the Israeli government in trying to block the statehood bid - which they fear because it could make Israel accountable for breaches of international law if Palestine becomes a state.

This elicited a withering comment from the PLO spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi, who said:
"The Americans are perfectly capable of doing Israel's work without recruiting the UK to help.

"The UK has a long history in this region and should be the first to recognise the damage it caused to the Palestinians in the past. They owe us at least the minimum of even-handedness.

"We are trying to do our best to rescue the two-state solution, prevent violence and bring international law to bear."

MPs will have their last chance to question William Hague on how the UK will vote on Palestinian statehood at Foreign Office questions on Tuesday October 30th. Ask you MP to table a question:

If he will make it his policy to support UN recognition of Palestine
If he will support the recognition of Palestine by the UN as a state alongside the state of Israel

And if they haven't already done so, ask you MP to sign EDM 502 on UN Recognition of Palestine.

Martin Linton