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France will vote 'yes' on Palestine, Aussie PM is forced by his party to abstain, 'NO' votes down to 6 - Guess Who...

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  • Ed Pearl
    From: Sid Shniad France plans yes vote on Palestinian statehood at UNGeneral Assembly *
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 28, 2012
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      From: Sid Shniad
      France plans 'yes' vote on Palestinian statehood at UNGeneral Assembly
      *
      http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Foreign+Minister+France+plans+vote+Palestin
      ian+statehood/7615195/story.html

      *
      *Vancouver Sun November 27, 2012
      *
      France plans 'yes' vote on Palestinian statehood at UN General Assembly *By
      Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press*

      PARIS - France announced Tuesday that it plans to vote in favour of
      recognizing a Palestinian state at the U.N. General Assembly this week.

      With the announcement, France becomes the first major European country to
      come out in favour, dealing a setback to Israel. The timing of the
      announcement appears aimed at swaying other European nations.

      Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told parliament that France has long
      supported Palestinian ambitions for statehood and "will respond 'Yes'" when
      the issue comes up for a vote "out of a concern for coherency."

      The Palestinians say the assembly is likely to vote Thursday on a resolution
      raising their status at the U.N. from an observer to a nonmember observer
      state, a move they believe is an important step toward a two-state solution
      with Israel. A Palestinian state would still not be a full General Assembly
      member, however.

      Unlike the Security Council, there are no vetoes in the General Assembly and
      the resolution is virtually certain of approval. But such a vote by France -
      a permanent council member - could weigh on decisions in other European
      capitals.

      Europe is divided over the issue. Switzerland and Portugal have said they
      will vote for the measure, but Germany is among the countries that have
      opposed the bid. Britain's position remains unclear.

      Palestinians say they are doing this out of frustration over the four-year
      deadlock in peace efforts. They believe an endorsement of their state will
      bolster their negotiating position.

      Israel strongly opposes the bid, accusing the Palestinians of trying to
      bypass negotiations. The resolution would endorse a Palestinian state in the
      West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, the territories captured by Israel
      in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel opposes a pullback to the 1967 lines.

      As French lawmakers applauded Tuesday- many of them members or allies of the
      Socialist-led government - Fabius cautioned against raising Palestinian
      hopes too high.

      "But, but, but, but, but - but at the same time, madame and monsieur
      lawmakers, we must show in this case a lot of lucidity," he said.

      "On the one hand, because the text is currently being discussed, and I
      myself had (Palestinian) President Mahmoud Abbas on the phone yesterday
      morning," he said. "On the other hand, because - let's not hide from this -
      that this question will be asked at a very delicate moment."

      He went on to note the "fragile cease-fire" after the recent deadly fighting
      between Hamas and Israel, the Israeli election in January, and the upcoming
      "change in composition of the American administration" - with the United
      States seen by many as perhaps the most pivotal player in the region.

      "In any case, it's only through negotiations - that we ask for without
      conditions and immediately between the two sides - that we will be able to
      reach the realization of a Palestinian state," Fabius said.

      * * *

      http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/humiliating-defeat-forces-gilla
      rd-to-back-down-over-palestinian-vote-20121127-2a5vc.html

      Sydney Morning Herald November 28, 2012
      * Humiliating defeat forces Gillard to back down over Palestinian vote

      *Israel's policy of allowing continuing expansion of Israeli settlements was
      sabotaging peace and Israel's friends had to send it a message - former
      prime minister Bob Hawke*

      *Peter Hartcher *

      THE Prime Minister was braced for a frontal assault from the Opposition
      about her past, but she didn't expect the spontaneous revolt from her own
      party over her support for Israel.

      Julia Gillard relied on her authority as Prime Minister when she decided on
      Monday that Australia would vote in support of Israel in a forthcoming
      ballot in the United Nations, but her authority proved inadequate. Gillard
      overruled the strong advice of her Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, and
      the overwhelming opinion of her cabinet to insist on her position. This set
      off a firestorm.

      The uprising was led by Bob Carr. ''He was on the ring-a-round,''
      canvassing support for his position, said a factional convener. ''I've never
      seen a Cabinet minister stand up to a prime minister like that.'' But after
      being advised that she was about to face a full Caucus revolt on the matter
      on Tuesday, Gillard capitulated. Importantly, the bedrock support base for
      Gillard in the Caucus, the Right faction, split.

      While the Victorian bloc of the Right wanted to bind all the faction's votes
      nationally in support of the Prime Minister, the NSW group refused.

      It was a rare and humiliating backdown for a prime minister.

      And it was an important marker in Australian political sentiment about the
      impassioned dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.

      Gillard had insisted that Australia vote against giving Palestine observer
      status in the UN General Assembly; her party forced her to change
      Australia's position to abstaining instead.

      Only seven countries are expected to vote against the move to upgrade
      Palestinian recognition - Israel, the US, Canada, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau
      and the Marshall Islands. If Gillard had prevailed, Australia would have
      been the eighth.

      Ten ministers representing both Labor factions spoke against the Prime
      Minister's stated position in a long Cabinet debate; Tony Burke, Chris
      Bowen, Bob Carr, Simon Crean, Craig Emerson, Martin Ferguson, and Peter
      Garrett from the Right and Anthony Albanese, Mark Butler and Greg Combet
      from the Left.

      Only two spoke in support of Gillard's position; Stephen Conroy and Bill
      Shorten, both from the Right.

      In the debate, it was pointed out that one of Labor's staunchest friends of
      Israel, the former prime minister Bob Hawke, had been on the phone urging
      ministers to cast Australia's vote as an abstention.

      Israel's policy of allowing continuing expansion of Israeli settlements on
      was sabotaging peace, Hawke argued, and Israel's friends had to send it a
      message.

      After Bob Carr got his way, he was the first to go public in defence of his
      leader. It was not a humiliation but a textbook case of a leader heeding the
      party, said Carr. Which is one way of putting it.
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