The former Foreign Secretary of Britain, Jack Straw has called on MPs to back the Palestinian bid for unilateral statehood at the United Nations.
The British government has not yet confirmed whether it will support the bid if a vote goes ahead. The U.S. will not back the move. Straw wrote to every member of British Parliament urging them to help the Palestinian cause for statehood.
“It is vital that the UK and other European countries have the courage to point the way forward.” He added that the UN, World Bank, the EU and the IMF have all deemed the Palestinians “ready for statehood” and said: “We all understand the fears that Israelis have for their security, but it will not enhance their security to deny the right of self-determination permanently to the Palestinians.”
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s ambassador to the U.S. would not admit that homosexuality would not be tolerated in a Palestinian state. Benjamin Weinthal of the Jerusalem Post, points out that the price for being gay in the Hamas-ruled
Gaza Strip is the death penalty:
The Hamas-controlled Gaza strip has declared homosexuality punishable by death. Hamas cofounder Mahmoud Zahar has said, “You in the West do not live like human beings. You do not even live like animals. You accept homosexuality. And now you criticize us?”
In an April broadcast on Hamas’s Al-Aksa TV, which was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Syrian academic Muhammad Rateb al- Nabulsi said, “Homosexuality involves a filthy place, and does not generate offspring. Homosexuality leads to the destruction of the homosexual. That is why, brothers, homosexuality carries the death penalty.”
But homosexuals aren’t all who are strongly unwelcome in the proposed Palestinian State. Ha’aretz reported:
The future independent Palestinian state will not include a Jewish minority, a top Palestinian official told USA Today on Wednesday, adding that it was in the best interest of both peoples to “be separated.”
Maen Areikat, PLO Ambassador to the United States, made the comment just as the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, was preparing to offer up Palestinian statehood to a vote in the United Nations General Assembly later this month.
The left-wing Israeli daily also reported that Hamas is not backing Abbas’ statehood bid. Further evidence that the PA and Hamas are not altogether reconciled:
The Islamist Hamas movement said Wednesday that President Mahmoud Abbas’ plan to approach the United Nations for recognition of Palestinian statehood was a “tactical” move, part of a negotiations process, and therefore could not be backed. The move was not based on principles and “Hamas and other factions are not part of this step and do not support it,” Salah al-Bardaweel, a senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, told a workshop in Gaza City.