Abbas looks to France for help at UN


The Palestinian Authority is planning to cooperate with the French government in its bid to secure UN recognition for a Palestinian state.

The PA has been lobbying the Security Council to vote for its proposal to impose a two-year deadline on establishing a state.

Israel believes that the US will try to prevent such a proposal being tabled but is concerned about the support it is receiving from central European governments, including Britain.

Reports of European support for the proposal came as the European Parliament voted on the principle of an independent Palestinian state; the Geneva convention met to discuss Israel's settlements and actions in Gaza; and the EU General Court ruled that Hamas should be removed from the list of terror organisations for "technical" reasons.

In a series of statements on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted what he described as "European naivete and hypocrisy".

On Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu flew to Rome for an emergency meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the response to the Palestinian UN proposal.

Mr Netanyahu requested that the US veto the proposal, but did not receive a firm commitment that it would do so.

However, there were reports of a stormy meeting between Mr Kerry and Palestinian representatives in London on Tuesday. Mr Kerry tried to convince them, unsuccessfully, to delay tabling the proposal.

Meanwhile, the subsequent statement from the State Department that the US would only support the proposal if it contained "no unilateral measures" have created the impression in Jerusalem that the Obama administration will not allow the proposal to pass.

Some of Mr Netanyahu's political rivals have joined forces in an attempt to prevent the proposal from reaching the Security Council. Those include former justice minister Tzipi Livni and former president Shimon Peres, who have also spoken to Mr Kerry and French Foreign Minister Lauren Fabius, urging them not to support the Palestinians' unilateral move.

It is uncertain whether the Palestinians will receive the nine Security Council votes that they need, although if the French support their proposal, their chances of a majority will greatly improve. Even if they gain the majority, the expectation remains that the US will veto it, but such a move will also signal a diplomatic crisis between Israel and its European allies.

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