Former British Prime Minister and Middle East negotiator
Tony Blair has condemned Palestine’s move for full UN state recognition as a
“deeply confrontational” course of action.
Blair, now Middle East representative for so-called Quartet
for Middle East Peace, warned a UN resolution would not change facts on the
ground in Palestine’s occupied territories.
“You can pass whatever resolution you like at the United
Nations or the Security Council, it doesn’t actually deliver you a state on the
ground in the West Bank and Gaza,” he said
“If you don’t have a negotiation, whatever you do at the UN
is going to be deeply confrontational.”
Palestine’s bid to secure UN statehood has divided the
international community. President Mahmoud Abbas hopes to win recognition of all
the Israeli-occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip for
Palestine, arguing the Arab state, lacking statehood, is at a disadvantage during
negotiations with Israel.
The move has been strongly opposed by Israel and its key
ally, the US.
Abbas last week presented his application for statehood to
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The proposal will be considered by the international agency
over the coming months but its prospects are dim because the US has said it
will veto the resolution if necessary.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation
Organization, said the US, the UN, the European Union and Russia - the Quartet
for Middle East Peace – was unduly influenced by Washington’s policies.
“I don’t think it is
Tony Blair’s leadership… I think the Quartet is run exclusively by Washington,”
she said. “The Quartet has been, in many ways, sidelined by the US, diverted by
the US and we believe that they must decide to take their own policies seriously
and their own commitments.
“[Statehood] is a right that is enshrined in international
law because we have the right to self determination under the UN charter after
all. [A veto] will weaken US standing in the Arab World, particularly as they
want to be welcomed by the Arab Spring,” she added.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has been reserved in
his analysis of the Palestinian bid for UN recognition, urging both sides in
the conflict to return to the negotiation table.
“We support Palestine having its own state next to a secure
Israel,” said Cameron. “In the end we have to recognise we will get a
Palestinian state alongside an Israeli state by the Palestinians and the
Israelis sitting down and talking to each other.”
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