France To Recognize Palestine
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced today that France will support Palestine's bid for "nonmember observer status" at the United Nations. Presuming that that France follows through, it will become the first major European power to recognize Palestine as a legitimate state.
The support of France, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, is the most significant boost to date for the Palestinians’ hopes to be granted nonmember observer status and thus greater international recognition. Russia and China, two other permanent members, have also thrown their support behind the Palestinian bid. The French support appeared calculated to strengthen the position of the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, whose party governs the West Bank, after clashes with Israel in the Gaza Strip this month that left Hamas, the Islamic militant organization that oversees Gaza, ascendant. It is also a blow to Israel, whose diplomats have been working feverishly to try to ensure what they call a “moral majority” in the United Nations vote, meaning that even if a majority of nations vote in favor of the Palestinian bid, the major world powers will not.France's move is expected to anger the United States, which has long opposed Palestine's presence at the United Nations. Last year US Ambassador Susan Rice threatened to end American funding of the United Nations should Palestine be admitted.