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Europe supports Palestinian statehood

Sept. 29, 2011 at 9:26 AM
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BRUSSELS, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- The right of Palestinians to advance in the international community as an independent state is "unquestionable," the European Parliament declared.

The U.N. Security Council announced Wednesday that it referred an application for full membership submitted by Palestinian authorities to a U.N. committee tasked with vetting new members. The submission was part of a unilateral statehood initiative launched by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The European Parliament, in a resolution passed Thursday, said lawmakers viewed the Palestinian bid for statehood as legitimate.

"The right of Palestinians to self-determination and to have their own state is unquestionable, as is the right of Israel to exist within safe borders," the resolution reads.

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said MPs expressed support for Israel and an independent Palestine living side by side in a peaceful relationship.

Washington has said it opposed the Palestinian initiative, believing the best path forward was through close negotiations between both sides, a track pursued with few breakthroughs for several decades.

Buzek said the sea change in the Middle East suggested that a business-as-usual model was no longer effective.

"Following the tremendous changes brought by the Arab Spring, all the more (shows) the status quo is not a viable option," he said. "The time for peace is now."

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