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Italian MPs Write Letter Against Unilateral PA Move

Over 150 Italian MPs call on the international community to oppose the PA's statehood bid, call for resumption of negotiations.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/10/2011, 12:59 AM

Over 150 Italian MPs from all the political parties have signed a document calling on the international community to oppose the Palestinian Authority’s bid for a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian State at the United Nations General Assembly in September.

The document calls for a rapid resumption of negotiations between the Israeli and the Palestinian Authority, aimed at reaching a peace based on mutual agreement.

“We, members of the Italian Parliament, strongly reaffirm our commitment to a peaceful and negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the principle of two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and security,” write the MPs.

“Indeed, a premature, unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood would not only undermine rather than resolve the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but would constitute a standing affront to the integrity of the United Nations, international agreements, and international law,” they add. “We believe that unilateralism will violate international legality and will harm the value of treaties among people.”

The MPs point out that a similar position, that a just and lasting peace is possible only through a negotiated approach that involves mutual concessions, was taken by U.S. President Barack Obama in his speech at the U.S. State Department in May.

They also say that the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, also took this position when he said in a joint press conference with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in June 15 that the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state would be “dangerous.”

The MPs point out a series of principles which a unilateral declaration of a state by the PA would undermine, such as UN Security Council resolutions 242, 338, and 1850, the Roadmap for Peace, and various Quartet statements which call for a mutually negotiated and agreed upon resolution of the conflict while rejecting unilateralism.

They add that a unilateral declaration “would violate existing Israeli-Palestinian bilateral agreements, most notably the Oslo II Agreements which state that ‘Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the Permanent Status negotiations’ (Article 31).”

They point out that it would be “highly inappropriate” for bodies such as the Quartet, Egypt, and Norway, that witnessed the signing of the agreement between Israel and the PA, “to now authorize a UN measure that would effectively violate this agreement while undermining major resolutions of the UN Security Council and the Quartet themselves.”

The MPs further note that UN unilateral recognition would effectively constitute recognition of the terror group Hamas which runs the Gaza Strip. Finally, they note, “the Palestinian Authority does not meet the traditional test for statehood – particularly the test of effective government – such that a premature and unilateral recognition of an ‘unripe’ Palestinian state could have a prejudicial effect on other regional conflicts.

“Accordingly,” they conclude, “we ask that you reaffirm the commitment of Italy to a negotiated solution to the conflict and to oppose the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. Only an immediate return to negotiations based on the principle of mutual recognition will ensure the establishment of a just and lasting peace.”

A similar letter has been presented in several countries worldwide by the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, chaired by Italian MP Fiamma Nirenstein.

Nirenstein, a regular op-ed writer for Arutz Sheva, is promoting the letter along with Italian MPs Enrico Pianetta, Gianni Vernetti (Api) and Rossana Boldi (Lega Nord).

In an e-mail statement on Tuesday, Nirenstein noted that the collection of signatures to the letter is being updated daily and they will be delivered to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, before the opening of the next General Assembly session.