European Parliament to debate and vote on recognition of ‘Palestinian state’

The situation in the Middle East will be debated in the European Parliament on November 26 in Strasbourg with the 751 MEPs to vote the following day on whether or not the EU should recognise a Palestinian state, the European Jewish Press reports.

The question of the recognition of a Palestinian state will be debated with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who has recently visited Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

The draft resolution to be discussed by the European Parliament comes after a decision by the new centre-left government in Sweden to recognise a Palestinian state – the first EU member state to make such a move – and symbolic votes in the parliaments of Britain, Ireland and Spain in favor of such a recognition.

The parliaments in France and Denmark are also slated to hold a similar vote in the next few days.

Israel called Sweden’s move “a very unfortunate decision” and recalled its ambassador to Sweden shortly afterward.

The initiative to call on the EU to recognise a Palestinian state came from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), the second largest group in the parliament, and the Unified European Left Party (GUE/NGL).

It “urges all EU member states to recognise the State of Palestine on the basis of the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital.”

The president of the S&D group, Italian Gianni Pitella has declared that the recognition was the only solution to ending the conflict in a way that would benefit both parties.

He said that the EU should be more involved in the peace process and must recognise Israel and “Palestine” as two states living side by side.

Israel’s ambassador to the EU, David Walzer, emphasised that a recognition would not not help bring Israel and the Palestinians to the negotiating table but only push the two sides to distant corners.

Walzer warned that if the European Parliament does recognise Palestine as a state, Israel will view “Europe’s decision as anti-Israel.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson, Mark Regev, told visiting European journalists this week that instead of pushingthe peace process such a move ‘’would undermine it.’’

Even if adopted by the European Parliament, the resolution will not be binding on EU countries.

During a visit to Gaza last month, the EU’s new foreign policy chief Mogherini called for the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying the world “cannot afford” another war in Gaza.

“We need a Palestinian state – that is the ultimate goal and this is the position of all the European Union,”Mogherini said.

European frustration is growing over Israel’s settlements activity while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed international charges that is detrimental to peace efforts.

Earlier this week, EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels issued a statement warning that ‘’the future development of the relations with both the Israeli and Palestinian partners will also depend on their engagement towards a lasting peace based on a two state solution.’’

(Photo: EC Audiovisual Service)



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