London: The UK has a ‘historic responsibility’ to support an imminent Palestinian attempt to enhance its status at the United Nations, a senior official has said.
The UK, like other main European nations, including Germany and Spain, has not yet decided whether to vote yes, no or to abstain in the vote, which is to be held on Thursday.
Britain would prefer the Palestinians to drop the bid, which comes just days after the agreement of a ceasefire following eight days of aerial warfare between Israel and militants in Gaza.
According to the Telegraph, the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank, but not Gaza, hopes that the international backing of a yes vote will persuade Israel to return to full peace negotiations after more than two years of impasse.
“After everything that has happened in the Arab Spring, Britain can`t pretend it is in favour of democracy in Libya, Syria and Egypt but accepts the Palestinians continuing to live under occupation,” the paper quoted Leila Shahid, the general delegate of Palestine to the EU, as saying.
“As the former colonial power, Britain has an historic responsibility to Palestine,” Shahid said.
“Britain is a very important country in the Middle East, it has extensive trade relations, and David Cameron should know he risks a popular backlash from Arab public opinion if he does not support us,” she added.
According to the paper, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague have publicly urged the Palestinians to drop the bid, arguing that it could wreck chances of a return to peace talks.
The United States and Israel have strongly argued the same, the paper said.