SP asks government: Don’t leave the Palestinians in the lurch

27 November 2012

SP asks government: Don’t leave the Palestinians in the lurch

Tiny Kox'Let’s hope that the Dutch government doesn’t leave the Palestinians in the lurch this time and votes in favour of raising the status of the Palestinian Authority in the United Nations. Any other vote would be a disgrace for the Netherlands,’ says SP Senator Tiny Kox in the run-up to the approaching vote at the UN on the Palestinian request to be given, as a non-member state, official observer status.

Frans Timmermans, Labour Party Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Liberal-Labour coalition government is as things stand intending not to support the request, even though before he became a minister he was, as a Member of Parliament, in favour. Kox describes this as unacceptable. ‘In 2011 the Netherlands reversed its position and, together with the United States, voted against full recognition of Palestine as a UN member’, he says. ‘Now our country is threatening not even to support the request from Palestine at least to be recognised as an observer. That’s a slap in the face of the Palestinians. Timmermans’ shilly-shallying is shocking. Countries like France and Sweden are certainly going to support the Palestinian request, as are probably the majority of UN member states. I implore the Dutch government not to leave the Palestinians in the lurch on this occasion. Raising their status can contribute to restoring the peace talks with Israel, which to date has felt powerful enough to cold shoulder the Palestinians and continue with the theft of Palestinian land for illegal settlements.’

In Senator Kox’s view, the raised status in the United Nations requested this week by Palestine’s President Abbas is in line with a decision by the Council of Europe in 2011 to accept the Palestinians as 'partner for democracy', on a proposal from Kox. Kox is special rapporteur for Palestine for the Council of Europe, in which almost all European countries participate. ‘Worldwide it’s being said that a two-state solution is the only way to solve the Middle East’s greatest problem. It’s time that we added deed to word and get on with raising the status. The Netherlands has long had good relations with both Israel and Palestine. It would be a terrible pity if we put ourselves out of the game now by one-sidedly taking Israel’s side and ignoring the Palestinians’ legitimate request.’'

Kox today explained the SP position to the former Dutch Prime Minister Dries van Agt, who has also made efforts to gather support for Palestine’s legitimate aspirations, together with former ministers from the centre-right CDA, the centrist D66 and the centre-left Labour Party.

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