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European parliament bolsters UN bid after Gaza fighting

Nov. 23, 2012 12:05 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 26, 2012 2:59 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The European Parliament on Thursday adopted a statement expressing support for the Palestinian bid for UN recognition as a non-member state next week.

In the aftermath of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, the parliament agreed a statement stressing "peaceful and non-violent means are the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians."

The parliament said in connection to this goal, it supports the bid championed by leaders in the West Bank, and "considers this an important step in making Palestinian claims more visible, stronger and more effective."

The resolution called on European Union countries to reach agreement over their position on the bid.

Israel and the US are fiercely opposed to the bid, saying it is a unilateral measure by Palestinians and circumvents negotiations. Palestinian leaders point out the occupation is a unilateral measure.

President Mahmoud Abbas has spearheaded diplomatic efforts at the United Nations, and plans to put Palestine's status to a vote in the UN General Assembly on Nov. 29, where it is expected to pass easily.

But the eight-day conflict in Gaza largely left him on the sidelines, with peace advocates expressing concern that the diplomatic route has been overshadowed by the gains claimed by militant groups during the war with Israel.
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