Saturday, September 24, 2011

Leading article: Will Britain fail the Palestinians for the second time in a century?

“As much as the international coalition that helped to protect the uprising in Libya can be deemed a success – with the important caveat that Muammar Gaddafi has not been apprehended – the Western diplomacy that tried to forestall yesterday's Palestinian application for UN recognition is an abject failure. It is a failure in practice, both because the US may now have to resort to its veto to fend off recognition – the very option it had wanted to avoid – and because Britain has been forced to choose yet again between Europe and the US, and looks set, awkwardly, to abstain. It reportedly rejected a French compromise plan that would have seen Palestine granted the same non-member status as the Vatican.

But the failure is also moral – on the part of Britain, as much, if not more than, any other power. As the Mandate power in Palestine for 25 years, Britain had an obligation to create and foster self-governing institutions. It left without doing so. More than half a century later, supporting the Palestinians' aspiration to statehood at the UN is the very least Britain should do.”

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