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NEWS: Baird to vote against Palestine as a ‘non-member observer state’ at the UN today

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird

The Globe and Mail reports that the Harper government is taking a lead role in opposing United Nations recognition of Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem as a non-member state, putting it at odds with France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, and two-thirds of General Assembly members that will back the bid, while even Britain will likely abstain at the vote.

The newspaper notes, “Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will travel to New York Thursday to vote against the Palestinian bid to become a ‘non-member observer state’. …Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government, staunch supporters of Israel, have already pressured the Palestinian leadership to drop its bid for upgraded UN status or risk retaliatory measures. …In September, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a point of meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations and reportedly warned him ‘there will be consequences’ if the 77-year-old Palestinian leader proceeds with his plan. Among the consequences, officials say, is the possibility that the Palestinian mission in Ottawa be closed.”

“The bid for state recognition is coming 65 years to the day after the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 that called for Palestine to be divided into a Jewish state, an Arab state and an international zone that would include Jerusalem and Bethlehem.”

The Toronto Star comments, “Conservative posturing on this issue, chiefly for Harper’s right wing constituency, is both hollow and self-defeating. Far more Canadians support statehood than oppose it, according to a BBC poll.” The resolution is expected to pass today with 130 to 150 countries of 193 UN member countries backing it.