May 11, 2011 by IJV
A group of French academics have written a petition calling for the immediate recognition of a Palestinian state. The following is a translation of the petition published in Le Monde on 29 April 2011.
The Time for a Palestinian State is Now!
The Middle East is at a crossroads. By continuing to build settlements in Palestine, Israel has driven the negotiations to a stalemate. This absence of hope could spark a third Intifada. As the people of the Arab world take control of their future, only broad-scale recognition of the State of Palestine within the pre-1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, can offer a new outlook.
On 24 September 2010, President Barack Obama suggested to the United Nations’ General Assembly that “when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations — an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel”. Since then, most Latin-American states have recognised the State of Palestine. On 21 April, French President Nicolas Sarkozy assured Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of his “clear support for efforts towards the creation of a Palestinian State”. The French Minister for Foreign Affairs is of the opinion that recognition of the Palestinian state is “a possibility which should be borne in mind”, but that “it should be done with the European Union”. On 13 December of last year he latter committed to doing so “when the time comes”.
The time has come. President Mahmoud Abbas has begun a tour with the aim of obtaining recognition of the State of Palestine. Inside Israel, prominent figures mostly from the ranks of Mossad, Shin Bet, the army and from the business community have released an “Israeli Peace Initiative” which supports the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. This initiative was followed by a petition in the same vein, signed by sixty prominent figures, seventeen of whom have been awarded the Israel Prize, one of the highest distinctions in the fields the arts, sciences and literatureuding academics such as Zeev Sternhell and Yirmiyahu Yovel and the founder of the Meretz party Shulamit Aloni. The signatories offer a reminder of resolution 181 of the UN General Assembly of 29 November 1947, which stipulates “the creation of independent Jewish and Arab states”, and cite Israel’s declaration of Independence of 14 May 1948. They add, “We looked around at what was happening in neighbouring countries and we said to ourselves, ‘It is about time that the Israeli public raised its voice as well'”.
We welcome this action and call on the international community to finally live up to its responsibilities. Sixty-four years ago the plan for the partition of Palestine – which the international community did little to apply – was aborted. It now falls to the international community to ensure a definitive, fair and lasting settlement based on international law. France and the European Union must lead the way and immediately recognise the Palestinian State in the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and call on the UN to do the same without delay.
However, we cannot rely only on national and international authorities. Our responsibility as citizens also behoves us to mobilise opinion towards this goal. It is for this reason that we invite prominent figures and intellectuals to join our appeal, whatever their background, leanings or sensibilities, so that peace will win out over war, to prevent new tragedies and to secure the future of two peoples living on the same earth.
Translated by Merav Pinchassoff