Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad and President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad and President Mahmoud Abbas at the opening of a medical center in August 2010 in Ramallah. Photo by Reuters
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PARIS - A new opinion poll published yesterday shows that most people in Germany, France and Britain want their leaders to vote in favor of a UN resolution to support recognition of a Palestinian state when the matter comes under discussion in New York next week. The votes of the three are viewed as critical in the Palestinians' bid for statehood.

Requisitioned by the global, political, Internet-based movement, Avaaz, which is conducting an online petition in support of a Palestinian state, the survey was carried out on the Web by YouGov in Britain and Germany, and Ifop in France.

According to the survey, some 84% of Germans support Palestinian statehood and 76% believe Germany should act now to recognize a Palestinian state; the UK figures were 71% and 59% respectively, while the figures from France came back as 82% and 69% respectively.

"The overwhelming majority of the British public have spoken; now David Cameron must listen," said Avaaz Executive Director Ricken Patel in a statement. "The prime minister has a clear choice: Stand with the British public and 126 other nations to support a Palestinian state and a new path to peace, or side with the U.S. government, which continues to push a failed status quo."

Avaaz says it is planning to deliver more than 913,000 signatories backing what it describes as "this new opportunity for freedom" to the European parliament. So, as the European Union foreign minister met in Brussels yesterday to try to formulate a common position on the expected Palestinian declaration of statehood next week, the citizens of Europe made it clear what they want to see happen. The foreign ministers gathering in Brussels, however, seemed less united in their positions.

Spain is openly backing the recognition, with Sweden, Portugal, Norway, Malta, Belgium and Luxembourg seemingly leaning in the same direction. France and Britain in turn have both said they would prefer to see meaningful negotiations on the basis of the pre-1967 borders with agreed land swaps, but have hinted they may vote for enhanced status for the Palestinians without such a prospect. Like Italy, Holland, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, Germany has said it opposes the statehood bid.