Palestinian authority's steps are symbolic: European expert

Palestinian authority's steps are symbolic: European expert

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 21 / Trend U.Sadikhova /

The Palestinian Authority's intention to present the issue of declaration of an independent state unilaterally to voting at the UN Security Council is highly symbolic and revealing of a deep frustration with regard to the stalled peace process, said Chiara Sulmona (Chiara Sulmoni), European analyst for Middle East Policy.

"This step is mainly meant to rally support for the Palestinian cause, put Israel under Western pressure, and call the international community to her responsibilities in the resolution of a 60-year-old conflict," Chiara Sulmoni, expert at the Centre of study and research for the Arab and Mediterranean world CERMAM wrote Trend in an e-mail.

According to the European analyst, stalled talks are highly detrimental to the legitimacy of the PA, while President Abbas -just recovering from the Goldstone report faux pas- is under tremendous pressure to deliver.

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad believes that achieving the recognition of a Palestinian state by other countries is not obligatory. He offers a two-year plan for the development of institutions and security forces, so that in the future the state becomes strong, transparent and effective, The New York Times reported.

Sulmoni doubts that the European powers will agree to a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state because they support the solution of the conflict on the basis of the principles adopted in the Road Map.

According to him, Western powers generally support a two-states' solution to be achieved within the frame of bilateral negotiations.

The EU and U.S. refused to recognize the unilateral steps by the Palestinian Authority to appeal to the UN Security Council in connection with the recognition of an independent state.

The leading EU countries criticized the decision of the Palestinians to declare an independent state beyond the international diplomacy, although EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana Javier Solana suggested last summer was the necessity to set a timetable for peace and for the establishment of a Palestinian state in case of failure in the peace process. 

"It risks escalating tension and disorder, while Israel threatened to annul a series of interim accords and revert to a pre-Oslo situation although the PA itself was an Oslo creation," said Sulmoni.

Reducing the pressure of the EU in the issue of Jewish settlements, the freezing of which is the main requirement of the Arab countries and Palestinians to revive peace talks, pushed the Palestinian Authority to try to solve the protracted conflict.

During his recent visit to Israel, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that "the construction of settlements should not be an obstacle to negotiations", repeating Washington's position. Previously, both mediators demanded that Israel must stop the settlement activity, which hinders the peace talks.

According to European analyst Sulmoni, Western countries want to avoid any risk that could jeopardize political and economic relations with Israel.

On the other hand, the international community should also avoid letting the already frail PA -its only political partner- down, Sulmoni said.

"Even tough Abbas is soon to leave office, it would be in the interest of the West to support his last attempt at reviving negotiations, given the extremely volatile security and political situation in Gaza and the West Bank," the expert said.

The article published in the American The New York Times says that in order to save Abbas as president, the U.S. Administration intends to offer financial assistance to develop security and economy and to deeper involvement of Arab countries in the peace process in the future.

Although as the reason for refusing to run again for the presidency, the head of the PA called the failure of negotiations with Israel and disappointment in the mediation of Washington, for the US and Israel it would be more advantageous to negotiate with moderate Abbas rather than with representatives of Hamas.

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