10/24/2014, 00.00
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A final push for UN recognition of Palestine

A draft proposal is before the Security Council. Sweden, Great Britain and France are ready to support it; Germany, which is aligned with the United States and Israel, is not. Despite EU sanctions against the State of Israel over the settlements, Israel is set to approve 1,600 new homes. Israelis and Palestinians trade accusations over the death of a three years Jewish girl in Jerusalem as well as a five-year Palestinian girl near Ramallah.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The campaign for the international recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations and in hundreds of international organisations is expected to reach its climax in November, said Saeb Erekat, one of the chief Palestinian negotiators, at the headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority in Ramallah, in the West Bank.

Following the failure of peace talks in April and the ruins caused by the last war in Gaza, President Mahmoud Abbas wants to indict Israel for genocide and submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council.

The diplomatic effort undertaken by the Palestinian Authority includes membership at the International Criminal Court, where complaints are expected against Israel for war crimes.

The United States will likely oppose the initiative at the UN Security Council with its veto power against any "danger" to Israel.

Known in Ramallah as 'Palestine 194', the public-relations campaign designed to get international recognition for a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital is gaining momentum.

Sweden intends to recognise Palestine as an independent state and the British House of Commons adopted a non-binding resolution to the same effect.

In September, Abbas visited France. On that occasion, his French counterpart Francois Hollande hinted France might be ready to help the Palestinians in getting recognition.

The European Union has imposed some (significant) sanctions on Israeli products made in settler communities in the occupied territories, a step that has set off alarm bells in Israel, especially since more sanctions can be expected if Israel continues its settlement policy.

Next week Israel is set to approve 1,600 new homes in the ultra-Orthodox suburb of Ramat Shlomo on the other side of the Green Line.

The end of Palestine's isolation is the result of years of diplomatic work. Palestinian diplomats are currently pursuing two goals: getting substantial funding from donor countries that participated in the mid-month Cairo Conference (including an EU delegation), and a date for the withdrawal of Israel from the territories.

Recent estimates put 7 to 9 Council votes in their favour. With traditional allies of the Palestinians such as Venezuela and Malaysia likely future members in the Council, some Palestinian officials have speculated they could get as many as 12. Moreover, 10 votes are enough for a resolution majority, provided that the United States - as seems likely - does not exercise its veto.

Still, the chief Palestinian negotiator said that Palestine would continue its diplomatic offensive in order to obtain recognition in the existing 522 international organisations, a push Israel is not likely able to contain.

Meanwhile, Israeli-Palestinians tensions continue to run high after an incident on Wednesday when a 21-year-old Palestinian, Abdel Rahman al Shaludi, crashed his car into a Jerusalem light rail station where ten or so people were waiting. A three-month girl was killed in the crash.

The young man is suspected of having ties to Hamas and had been detained in Israel for participating in demonstrations. However, he might also have suffered from mental problems related to time spent in jail. After he tried to flee the scene of the crash, he was fatally wounded by a guard.

For his family, the incident was an unfortunate accident. Shaludi lost control of his car and was not motivated by extremist views or any desire to kill.

Although the nephew of a prominent member of a Palestinian extremist group killed in 1998, he had no direct or indirect ties to the Islamist group.

Israeli officials said that he was a Hamas sympathiser. Israel also accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of being the cause of the surge in terrorism and violence.

Palestinian officials responded slamming Israel for its baseless accusations, calling them a major obstacle to peace.

For the Palestinians, Israel is also applying a double standard. It is focusing on the Jerusalem incident whilst underplaying an attack by a Jewish settler who last Sunday drove his car against two Palestinian girls near Ramallah, killing a five-year-old.

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