Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been in Strasbourg to urge The Council of Europe to back what he called ‘the Palestinian Spring.’
Addressing the Parliamentary assembly of the 47 nations, he made clear his hopes for a peaceful resolution to the problem:
“We reaffirm the peaceful aspect of our initiative because we reject violence and terror in all its aspects, especially state terrorism as well as the terror perpetrated by armed settlers. We will abort their wishes: we won’t fall into the trap of extremism.”
President Abbas also hailed the assembly’s decision on Tuesday to Grant ‘Partner for Democracy Status’ to the Palestinian National Council.
Meanwhile Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator of the PLO asked for more action from Europe.
“We appreciate the Europeans being payers, but we want the Europeans to be players. I’m not saying that because I woke up one morning and felt my conscience in love with Europe. I’m talking about geo-politics, talking about history, talking about interests. And if we need to dry the swamp of extremism in our region, we need to dry the swamp of this reoccupation. We believe that Europe should be the main partner, the main player, and that’s what we’re working on all the time.”
The United States criticised a move by UNESCO, as the organisation cleared the way for Palestine to become a full member; Washington says the UN subsidiary body should wait for a decision by the Security Council.
In September, President Abbas applied for full membership of the United Nations, ignoring US warnings that it would veto the move, as well as threats of restriction of aid to Palestinians should they do so.