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IRWIN COTLER IN THE GAZETTE-Opinion: The time isn’t right for statehood bid

By Irwin Cotler

[This article  appeared in the Montreal Gazette ]

MONTREAL - Any negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – as part of wider Arab-Israeli peace and reconciliation – should be based on the principle of two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and security. Accordingly, a premature, unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood would undermine rather than resolve the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and would constitute a standing affront to the integrity of the United Nations, international agreements and international law.

It is not surprising, therefore, that U.S. President Barack Obama, in a speech May 19, warned that a just and lasting peace is possible only through a negotiated approach that involves mutual concessions. “Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state,” stated the president, a position reaffirmed in a communiqué by the G8 on May 27.

A similar position was also taken by the president of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek. During a press conference with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on June 15 in Ramallah, Mr. Buzek declared that the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state would be “dangerous.”

On July 27, Prime Minister Stephen Harper dismissed a unilateral declaration of statehood by the Palestinians as “a very unhelpful development.” He said a two-state solution should be predicated on “mutual recognition, including recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.”

What has gone largely unnoticed is that opposition to the proposed unilateral declaration has recently come from disparate – and unlikely – Arab and Palestinian leadership. First, the secretary-general of the Arab League, Nabil Al-Arabi, said the statehood bid “could be a very dangerous move for the Palestinians during this period.” Second, Hamas leadership – which presumably would be part of a proposed Palestinian state – has called the whole exercise a “sham.” Third, the Palestinian team responsible for preparing this initiative has been given an independent legal opinion – by its own counsel – that argues against such an initiative and warns of the serious risks involved to the Palestinian people, a position echoed by Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

These declarations opposing UN recognition of a unilateral Palestinian statehood bid – whether they emanate from western political leaders or from Arabs and Palestinians themselves – can be said to be anchored in a series of foundational principles and related precedents of international law, including:

to read more, click here:  http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Opinion+time+right+statehood/5367311/story.html

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

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