Palestinians Appeal to European Countries: Recognize Statehood Even Without Peace Deal

In wake of EU's decision to wait until 'appropriate', PA negotiators bring request for the first time to individual countries - France, Britain, Sweden and Denmark - as well as to the European Union envoy.

Palestinian negotiators on Thursday asked a number of individual European countries to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip - even without a peace deal with Israel.

The Palestinian Authority issued a similar appeal to the European Union earlier this week, but this was the first time it singled out specific countries with its request.

abbas - AP - November 11 2010

The appeal comes as part of a growing campaign to pursue statehood outside of peace talks with Israel, which have been deadlocked since September.

Palestinian officials said they asked the consuls general of France, Britain, Sweden and Denmark as well as the European Union envoy to the peace process to recognize the 1967 borders between Israel and Palestine.

In response to a letter from to that regard from Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat earlier this week, the EU said it would recognize a Palestinian state when "appropriate", adding that negotiations are the only way to peace.

The PA's request was made just hours after the United States House of Representatives on Wednesday unilaterally approved a resolution opposing unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood.

That resolution, introduced by Rep. Howard Berman, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, slams Palestinian efforts to push the international community to recognize a state in such a manner as "true and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties."

It calls on the U.S. administration to "deny recognition to any unilaterally declared Palestinian state and veto any resolution by the United Nations Security Council to establish or recognize a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated by the two parties."

It also urges Palestinian leaders to "cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process, including efforts to gain recognition of a Palestinian state from other nations, within the United Nations, and in other international forums prior to achievement of a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and calls upon foreign governments not to extend such recognition."

Earlier this month, Brazil announced it recognized a Palestinian state based on borders at the time of Israel's 1967 conquest of the West Bank, in response to a request made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Argentina and Uruguay followed lead soon after and said they intended to support a declaration of a Palestinian state.