Jose Ramos Horta, E. Timor President, endorses full UN membership for Palestine

Writing for the Huffington Post, East Timor’s President Jose Ramos Horta endorsed [in September, just days before PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas actually deposited the request] Palestine’s “UN bid” for full membership in the international organization.

Ramos Horta, who was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996, alongside East Timor’s Archbiship Belo, for their efforts for self-determination and peace in East Timor, wrote in his article, published on 19 September, that “Arguments against full Palestinian UN membership are not persuasive“.

    “The Palestinians, having waited for 20 years since the Oslo Accords, that promised them a full sovereign Palestinian State living along side with the state of Israel, have decided to seek full UN membership status now. They have every right to do so and I do not see how a Palestinian State that is a full member of the UN would be detrimental to Israel and US interests. Full UN membership carries with it not only rights but in equal manner duties and responsibilities, among them, the obligation to not allow its territory to be used to launch attacks on other countries…
    “The dilemma and challenge for Israel is to vacate most of West Bank. But Israeli leaders and settlers are the ones who created this problem for themselves and must now have the courage and wisdom to leave West Bank and hand over the settlements to the Palestinian authorities. A special fund could be set up, led by the US and Europe, to buy back from Israel the thousands of housing units, schools, health clinics, etc scattered in the West Bank. While no amount of money would ever suffice to buy back the lives lost, Palestinians would receive high quality infrastructures that in some way would constitute a small form of compensation for decades of humiliation and dispossession…
    “To my friends in Israel and the US, I will say, do not oppose Palestinian UN membership; support it instead. Provide the financial means the Palestinian leaders need to turn their economy around. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu told me in his office in Jerusalem earlier this year that he wanted to see an economically prosperous Palestinian state. I believe he meant it. Now is his chance to show vision and bold leadership by endorsing Palestinian UN membership, lift the Gaza blockade, and facilitate trade…
    “I have heard arguments from all sides. Arguments against full Palestinian UN membership are not persuasive. After more than 60 years of absence, to a great extent due to past Palestinian and Arab leaderships miscalculations, it is time that the five million Palestinians living in West Bank and Gaza, and the many others scattered in the region and elsewhere, see their national flag hoisted along aside that of other powers of the world, great and small, rich and poor”.

    [Jose Ramos-Horta, 1996 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and President of Timor-Leste, made State Visits to Israel and Palestine earlier this year.]

This article by East Timor’s President Jose Ramos Horta, recommending full UN membership for the State of Palestine, is posted here.

Mahmoud Abbas addresses Palestinians about UN bid, says he plans to ask UNSC for full UN membership

One week before he is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly in New York, Mahmoud Abbas — Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], who is also serving beyond his term as President of the Palestinian Authority — finally addressed the Palestinian people this evening to explain what he is about to do, via a televised speech delivered before an invited audience in the Ramallah Muqata’a.

We’re going to ask for full UN membership“, Abbas announced.

There was a standing ovation, that segued into rhythmic applause, after Abbas said: “We are going to the UN Security Council“.

He said the request would be handed to the UN Secretary-General, who would then turn it over to the UN Security Council — where the U.S. has said it would cast a veto, if necessary, to block the move.

Abbas spoke several times about the state being democratic, free, independent, within the 1967 borders, and having [East] Jerusalem as its capital.

But, he said, “Let’s be realistic; we won’t suddenly be independent” after going to the UN.

The other important pending issues, such as settlements, water, security, and the return of refugees, and more, would have to be negotiated with Israel after the move at the UN, he indicated. And, he stressed, the Palestinian strategy must remain “peaceful, everything must be entirely peaceful — Palestinians must not allow themselves to be provoked”.

The Palestinians are the people still under occupation, Abbas noted. What do the people want?, he said. Answering his own question, he said: “an end to the occupation”.

Israel and the U.S. have made their opposition to any Palestinian UN move clear, and there has been a flurry of last-minute efforts to avert such a Palestinian move at the UN.


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