Ten voices on the Palestinian bid for UN membership

Ten important voices weigh in on the debate about Palestinian membership at the UN.

Should the UN give full member status to the Palestinian Authority [PA]?

The views of the presidents of the U.S., Israel and the PA, as well as Prime Minister Stephen Harper, have been heard. Here are 10 other important voices weighing in on the issue:

Diana Buttu, Palestinian-Canadian lawyer now at Harvard University,  legal advisor to the PLO in its negotiations with Israel, 2000-05:

"Although I still think it is an attempt to keep [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas alive politically, I hope that this application for membership to the UN will be the first step in trying to isolate Israel both legally and diplomatically for its ongoing violation of Palestinian human rights and, in particular, its continued defiance of the international community through its construction of Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land. 

"I also hope that the Palestinian leadership finally abandons its farcical support for negotiations with Israel and with it, the nonsensical belief that the US will liberate Palestinians from Israel's grip."

(From a Sept. 22 email to CBC News.)

Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France:

Nicolas Sarkozy. (Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty)
"Each of us knows that Palestine cannot immediately obtain full and complete recognition of the status of United Nations member state."

"But who could doubt that a veto at the Security Council risks engendering a cycle of violence in the Middle East?"

"Why not envisage offering Palestine the status of United Nations observer state? This would be an important step forward," Sarkozy said."Most important, it would mean emerging from a state of immobility that favours only the extremists. We would be restoring hope by marking progress towards the final status."

Paul Dewar, NDP Foreign Affairs Critic:

"The text for the application by the Palestinians hasn’t been presented yet .... For the Prime Minister to say that he’s opposed to something that he hasn’t even read is unfortunate, because what we want to see here is moving negotiations forward and some have noted that this might actually get things moving."

"There is one consensus point here amongst all parties in Canada and that is to have a two-state solution that’s negotiated."

Ismail Haniyeh. (Ismail Zaydah/Reuters)
Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas leader, head of Hamas administration in Gaza:

"We reiterate our rejection of this bid."

"We repeat today that we are with the establishment of a Palestinian state on any liberated part of Palestinian land that is agreed upon by the Palestinian people, without recognizing Israel or conceding any inch of historical Palestine."

John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN, Fox News contributor,  senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute:

"Had the White House exerted leadership at the outset, the PA [Palestinian Authority] could have been dissuaded well before now, at little or no cost to it or the United States. Now, there is every likelihood of a diplomatic debacle, to the detriment of all concerned.

"So convoluted is the situation that Hamas, the terrorist group ruling the Gaza Strip, has condemned the PA move as "empty of content," one of the few accurate observations Hamas has ever made."

Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil:  

Dilma Rousseff. (Diego Vara/Reuters)
"Only a free and sovereign Palestine will be able to respond to Israel's legitimate desires for peace, security inside its borders, and political stability in its region."

(Rousseff was the opening speaker in the General Assembly, which she described as the first "woman voice," in UN history to open the Assembly's annual session. Rousseff said Brazil supports "full representation" for the Palestinians at the UN. Brazil now sits as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.)

The Canadian Jewish News, editorial:

The PA leader is intent on bringing the conflict to a further crisis. He has raised Palestinian expectations to sky-high levels. He has called for his people to demonstrate their support for his policies with en masse marches. He has not spurned Hamas, nor Hamas’ objectives. He has spurned only direct negotiations. He has, in effect, shown his true colours: shadowy and dark.
Guido Westerwelle. (Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters)
Guido Westerwelle, German Foreign Minister:

Germany "supports the aim of a viable Palestinian state as a result of negotiations."

"However, steps that risk to make any progress towards a two-state-solution more difficult should be avoided."

"With a view to a possible Palestinian request to the UN, the decisive question was what would serve the peace process and what would hamper it."

Haaretz, Israeli newspaper, Sept. 22 lead editorial:

If a Palestinian state fails to win a sufficient majority of the Security Council, or if the United States vetoes it, America's credibility among the Arab public will be eroded. And the punitive measures Israel intends to take against the Palestinians following the UN vote, combined with its disregard of the view of most the world's nations, could lead it into a regional conflict and international isolation.
Rick Perry. (Eric Thayer/Reuters)
Rick Perry, Texas governor seeking the Republican presidential nomination:

"We are indignant that certain Middle Eastern leaders have discarded the principle of direct negotiations between the sovereign nation of Israel and the Palestinian leadership, and we are equally indignant that the Obama administration's Middle East policy of appeasement has encouraged such an ominous act of bad faith.

"Simply put, we would not be here today at the precipice of such a dangerous move if the Obama Policy in the Middle East wasn't naïve, arrogant, misguided and dangerous."