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Middle east

From left to right, French leaders back Palestine at UN

© Photo: Julie Kara/France 24

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2012-12-01

France was part of the overwhelming majority that voted in favour of granting Palestine observer-state status at the United Nations on Thursday. A day after the vote, French leaders from across the political spectrum welcomed the outcome.

France voted in favour of making Palestine a non-member state at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, with President François Hollande calling it a “decision in line with the objective of creating two states living in peace and security.”

Reacting immediately after the UN vote, Hollande joined the chorus of world leaders calling for a speedy and unconditional return to peace talks. “France is ready to help, as a friend to both Israel and Palestine,” the French president said.

Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë, also a prominent figure within Hollande’s ruling Socialist Party, greeted the vote with enthusiasm. “The UN General Assemby has shown both wisdom and boldness on an issue that has often divided and paralysed it,” he said via written statement.

Israel responds with settlements, US reacts

Hours after the UN upgraded Palestine’s status, Israel responded by announcing it was authorising 3,000 new settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The decision was swiftly condemned by the US as "counterproductive".

Building in the West Bank effectively cuts the occupied area in two, making the creation of a viable Palestinian state highly problematic.

 

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

French leaders from France’s main opposition Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, which is currently struggling with an internal leadership battle, were largely silent over the matter on Friday.

However, before the vote on Thursday, MP Axel Poniatowski, a member of the UMP and the vice-president of the French National Assembly’s foreign affairs commission, said his group supported France’s UN vote.

“We all think there can be no solution to the [Israeli-Palestinian] crisis without the creation of two states: an Israeli State and a Palestinian State. That is a step toward the full recognition of a Palestinian state,” Poniatowski told Radio France International.

Louis Alloit, vice-president of the far right National Front, said his party was also in favour of Palestinian observer-state status. “It’s a benefit to Palestinians, and contrary to what some Israelis think, it’s also good for them because it is a foundation for future dialogue in which Palestinians will also have to offer assurances over an end to terrorist acts,” Alliot told France 24 by telephone on Friday.

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, a right-wing leader opposed to the EU and a former presidential candidate, said he was proud of France’s vote. “Finally, France has found a balanced position on the Middle East,” he said via his Twitter account.

On its website, France’s Communist Party said it was overjoyed at France’s decision to support the Palestinian bid.

Unlike France, Europe remains divided over the issue. Britain and Germany, two other EU heavyweights, abstained from Thursday’s vote.

Date created : 2012-11-30

  • PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

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