Palestine must no longer be excluded

24 September 2011

Palestine must no longer be excluded

The United Nations must decide on admission of Palestine as the 194th member.

Tiny Kox is a Senator for the SP and vice-chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on behalf of the Netherlands.
Most member states have already indicated that they will vote in favour. The Netherlands has not. In my opinion there is absolutely no good reason any longer to exclude Palestine from the global organisation of international law (of which Israel has long been a member). Instead of exclusion, inclusion is desirable. Cooperation instead of confrontation is good for everyone.

In a short time the Council of Europe will be setting a good example when it accepts the Palestinian parliament as a partner of the oldest and biggest European cooperation organisation (in which the Israeli Knesset has for many years held observer status).
During the last nine months I have been busy, as rapporteur for the Council of Europe, with the question of whether closer relations between the Palestinian parliament and the parliaments of forty-seven member states are possible and desirable. My conclusion is positive. At the beginning of October the Palestinian parliament will be admitted as a 'partner for democracy'.

To be quite clear, this partnership does not come for free. In my report I state certain conditions regarding which I had reached agreement with the Palestinian parliament: rapid formation of a government which, in the space of a year, will hold free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections; a moratorium on the death penalty; close cooperation with the Council of Europe’s legal experts; and accession to relevant European conventions.
Cooperation with the Council of Europe is good for democracy, good for development and good for the protection of human rights in Palestine. The Palestinian parliament has committed itself to making the core values of the Council of Europe its own. Trade unions and human rights organisations are extremely pleased with the partnership, and that goes also for President Abbas and Premier Fayyad.

Cooperation with Palestine is also good for us in Europe and in the Netherlands. The Arab Spring is having a positive influence on developments in Palestine. Young Palestinians in particular long for national reconciliation and international recognition of their country. Democratisation of the Arab world is of great importance for increased stability and increased trust in the world, matters which for an internationally-orientated country such as the Netherlands is of especial importance. That’s why it’s so sad that our country’s government is taking such a contrary position when it comes to Palestine’s admission to the UN. Most Dutch people do not agree with their government. It’s time that government and parliament listened to them and granted Palestine its rightful place in the UN.
This article first appeared, in Dutch, in the regional newspaper Eindhovens Dagblad on 23rd September 2011.

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