France has announced it will back the Palestinian Authority’s UN bid for non-member observer status. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the country’s National Assembly that Paris would vote ‘yes’ saying, “We’ve known for years France’s constant position is to recognize the Palestinian state.”
“For France to support the Palestinian bid at the UN is essentially helping the Palestinians to continue the promotion of the delegitimization of Israel,” says New York-based French-Jewish artist Ron Agam.”You don’t reward them by giving them this status at the UN when in effect for the past four years they’ve refused to meet unconditionally the Prime Minister of Israel.”
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, was equally disappointed: “That France, which confesses its commitment to direct negotiations and for wanting to see a peaceful resolution in the Middle East, would endorse this move by Abu Mazen ignores the facts while helping the PA to avoid negotiations with Israel.”
The draft resolution seeking the status upgrade also calls on the UN Security Council to “consider favorably” the request for full membership made one year ago by Abbas, and blocked by the U.S.
“We obviously disagree with our oldest ally (France) on this issue. They know that we disagree with them,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in Washington according to AFP. “But it’s their sovereign decision to make, how to proceed.”
France’s support of the PA came as no surprise to Israel. “We knew that France was inclined to vote for this resolution, so we expected as much,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP.