THE Palestinian ambassador to the UK has described a decision by the US to veto his country’s request for full UN membership as “humiliating and insulting”.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday National, Husam Zomlot accused the US, UK and major European nations of “abusing their status in the UN system”, as he furiously insisted they have “no such rights” over the Palestinian people.

The vote in the 15-member Security Council last week was 12 in favour while the US opposed and the UK and Switzerland abstained.

Washington’s position is that the emergence of a Palestinian state has to be the outcome of negotiations on all aspects of a Middle East peace settlement.

Asked how he felt about the legitimacy of Palestine being debated and denied by other nations on the UN Security Council, Zomlot – after taking a long pause to compose his thoughts  – said it was insulting, but not just to the Palestinian people.

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He told the Sunday National: “It feels humiliating that countries like the US have a say over the fate of an entire nation living on its occupied land, being in a constant struggle for almost a century.

“A US representative on the Security Council raises their hand objecting to our right to self-determination. It is insulting - not just to the Palestinian people, but to the international system, the UN and its charter. It is insulting to the spirit of the right to self-determination.

“The one who called for the right of self-determination for people and enshrined it in the international system is Woodrow Wilson [former US president]. It was the US who championed this.

“I feel the US is literally willing to destroy its own policy, a two-state solution, destroy the UN charter and principles, US principles, destroy everything and enable Israel to continue the genocide, anything for the sake of this small country that it seems has managed to put itself above every single rule.

“It is insulting to us, the world, humanity and the US’s own history.”

He added: “The US has used veto power against us seven times in the last few months. The US, the UK, and the rest of Europe have no such rights over the Palestinian people.

“They have abused their status in the UN system and this will have far-reaching consequences.”

Amid Palestine’s battle to gain full UN membership – as it currently has non-member observer status - Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez (below) has been encouraging other nations to commit to recognising Palestine as a state, as Madrid intends to do by July.

A total of 139 UN members already recognise the state of Palestine, but the European Union as a body does not, nor do the UK or the US.

The National:

Only eight of the EU’s 27 members currently recognise Palestinian statehood: Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechia, Sweden, Cyprus, Slovakia and Romania.

But there is hope that Ireland, Malta and Slovenia will join Spain in the near future in recognising a Palestinian state to bring that number up to 12.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has also said his country “stands ready” to recognise Palestine together with “like-minded countries” after a meeting with Sanchez.

But there are other nations which remain sceptical despite Sanchez’s efforts including Portugal, with Premier Luís Montenegro telling the Spanish prime minister his government would “not go as far” as Spain without a joint European approach.

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Zomlot - who had several family members killed during an Israeli airstrike on Rafah - said while it is the right decision for Spain and other nations to offer recognition, he had “mixed feelings” as he struggled to understand the “twisted logic” of European nations taking so long to acknowledge Palestine’s statehood.

He said: “This is an inalienable right of Palestinian people and the question is, why it has taken Europe and North America this long to do so in line with the rest of the world?

“Europe and the US seem to be saying that the UN recognition will harm chances of peace.

“UN recognition and bilateral recognition – ie, by Spain, the UK or the US – reaffirms the two-state solution. In fact, it reaffirms it in light of Israel’s settlement activities, war crimes, and never-ending expansion, which is undermining a two-state solution. So the justification of Europe, the US, is incomprehensible.

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“If you have a look at what Europe - the UK included - has said all these years, it says the recognition should be an outcome of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. I mean, really?

“Did anyone negotiate with us when Israel was created? And what kind of negotiations can be held with a state like Israel that is engaging in a genocide against our people?”

Zomlot insisted the recognition of a Palestinian state would not only revitalise a “dying” two-state solution and give Palestine the leverage of international law and institutions but also bring hope to its people at a time of utter desperation.

More than 34,000 people are believed to have been killed in Gaza - including 13,000 children - while hundreds have been killed in the occupied West Bank.

He said: “[Recognition] would inject blood into the dying body of the two-state solution and show the world means it [when it says it].

“If you espouse a two-state solution, then why do you recognise one of the two states? If you do that, you give a green light to the one state you recognise to encroach on the other state that you don’t recognise.

“This is exactly what has been happening for 30 years, while Europe – including the UK - and the US have been saying, ‘the best thing is to recognise [the state of Palestine] when the situation is suitable and when there is a final agreement’. I mean, can’t you take stock of what has happened in these 30 years?

“At this bleakest of moments for the Palestinian people, recognition and UN membership would give a message of hope to the Palestinians and that is such a needed thing now because the situation is so desperate.”