UN Diplomats Say Countries Intimidated Into Supporting Palestinian Bid

Member states fear Arab and Muslim blocs will not support them in important council and committee bids if they fail to vote for Palestinian independence.

Shlomo Shamir
Shlomo Shamir
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Shlomo Shamir
Shlomo Shamir

Diplomats in the UN said their support for the Palestinian statehood bid stems from fear of revenge from Muslim and Arab nations loyal to the Palestinian cause.

Sources said some countries will support the Palestinians not because they believe in their cause, but because Muslim and Arab countries may take punitive measures against them when they will need support in the Security Council or in bids to be appointed to important UN bodies.

Palestinian activists holding banners in front of the UN headquarters in Ramallah, Thursday, Sept 8, 2011.Credit: AP

A senior Western diplomat told Haaretz that the Nonaligned Bloc's votes were of particular importance. "It is the largest regional bloc," he said, "and is greatly sympathetic to the Palestinian matter."

Diplomats have pointed to Australia as an example of this intimidation. Australia is already pushing its nomination for a seat on the UN Security Council next year, and is expected to weigh its steps carefully so as not anger the Muslim and Arab nations and the Nonaligned Bloc. Canada, on the other hand, has failed in promoting its nomination for a seat, not least because of its support for Israel.

The Palestinian bid is not very popular among diplomats, who say it is "a nuisance we would like to have behind us."

Ambassadors in New York agree with Israel's position that the Palestinian bid is a wrong move that may bring unwanted results. Yet they say Israel is to blame as it has failed to present any political initiatives, leading to a lengthy political deadlock.

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