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Open Letter to Barack Obama not to use veto on Palestine UN Membership


The open letter below was delivered to the US Embassy in Port Louis yesterday morning by a delegation comprised of co-signatories: M.Cassam Uteem (President of Mauritius 1992-2002), Samad Dulloo (for the neighbourhood association Dr. Idrice Goomany Centre), Feizal Nahaboo (of the neighbourhood youth association Fraternite Jeunesse de Phoenix) and Alain Ah-Vee (LALIT). Reaz Chuttoo (of the trade union federation of private sector workers, Confederation Travayer Sekter Prive) is also a co-signatory of this letter.

President B. Obama,
U.S.A. (Through US Ambassador, Port Louis)
September 17, 2011
Mr President,

Re: Resolution to admit Palestine into the United Nations as a member state

Last night President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed that he would be submitting an application for the State of Palestine to become a member of the United Nations. We, the undersigned, call upon you not to use your power of veto in the Security Council to block this membership application.

For 63 years, the people of Palestine have waited for their right to a country. For 44 years, the state of Israel has illegally occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza which are Palestine territory.

There has been growing international support for the rights of the Palestinian people. Recognition of statehood for Palestine in the United Nations will only formalise this long quest for justice.

Palestine is seeking full membership to the United Nations as an existing state. Security Council approval and two-thirds majority of the General Assembly of UN make it a multilateral act, not a “unilateral act”.

Up to now, all peace processes have failed. This, on two counts: on the one hand, they have not resolved the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and on the other they have created other problems.

The recent uprisings in the Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa have forced the Palestinian leadership to listen to the Palestinian people and to come forward with the application for statehood at the United Nations, at the same time they are also forcing the Israeli government to listen to its people. Instead of having an astronomic military budget in the name of security, Israel should learn to live with its neighbours as a civilised state accountable to its people and the international community.

International Support
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a 350-organization coalition in the United States has called on your administration not to veto Palestine UN membership as a pledge of your support for human rights, international law, and equality. Citizens of the United States have reminded you of the pledge made by the U.S. Representative to the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1949, that the US has “no intention of preventing, by its vote, the admission to the United Nations of any applicant which received at least seven affirmative votes in the Security Council, which meant that the United States would not use its right of veto in the Security Council on any membership application.”

The Avaaz on-line Petition calling for recognition of the state of Palestine has urged the leaders of France , Spain , Germany , the UK and the High Representatives of the EU and all UN member states to endorse the legitimate bid for recognition of the state of Palestine and the reaffirmation of the rights of the Palestinian people. The petition has gathered 916,927 signatures so far.

In Mauritius we, the undersigned, have consistently campaigned on the subject, and the Prime Minister has publicly stated that the Republic of Mauritius will vote in favour of the resolution to recognise Palestine as member state in the United Nations.

The United States should see the Palestinians’ bid for statehood in the United Nations as an opportunity to give a fresh start to a real peace process where Israel and Palestine will come to the peace talks table as two states with same rights and obligations and to work towards a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Your own stand
In your speech at the State Department on U.S. policy in the Middle East in Washington , D.C. , on May 19, 2011, you said:

"... At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever. That's certainly true for the two parties involved. [....]

"... But … it's important that we tell the truth: The status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace.

"So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine , a secure Israel . The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel , Jordan , and Egypt , and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine . We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutu ally agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state."

In view of all the above, included what you have yourself stated, we are reiterating our request that the United States should welcome the Resolution to establish a country and a state for the Palestinian people

Imran Dhanoo Dr.Idrice Goomany Centre
Feizal Nahaboo Fraternite Jeunesse de Phoenix
Reeaz Chuttoo Confederation Travayer Sekter Prive
Alain Ah-Vee LALIT
Cassam Uteem President of Mauritius (1992-2002)

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