French Lawmakers Debate Recognition of Palestine

French Lawmakers Debate Recognition of Palestine
Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:14:27

French lawmakers were to debate on Friday a motion urging the government to recognise Palestine as a state, amid growing European frustration at the moribund Middle East peace process, Middle East Online reports.

The symbolic motion is expected to pass comfortably on December 2 when the lower house of parliament votes on the text proposed by the ruling Socialists.

The vote comes hot on the heels of a similar resolution approved by British lawmakers on October 13, Spanish MPs on November 18 and the formal recognition by Sweden on October 30.

The text "invites the French government to use the recognition of the state of Palestine as an instrument to gain a definitive resolution of the conflict".

It is non-binding on the government, although Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a recent interview that France would "obviously at a certain moment recognise the Palestinian state".

The Socialist MP who drafted the text, Elisabeth Guigou, said the aim was to "reaffirm that the two-state solution is the best guarantee for peace".

"If we do not act now, there is a risk of entering into an irreversible cycle of violence and transforming this territorial conflict into a regional conflict," added Guigou."Nothing would be worse for the region and for Europe."

Ahead of the vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned France it would be making a "grave mistake" if it recognised Palestine as a state.

"Recognition of a Palestinian state by France would be a grave mistake," Netanyahu said.

French Foreign Affairs minister Laurent Fabius delivers a speech during a debate on November 28, 2014 at the French National Assembly in Paris, on a motion urging the government to recognise Palestine as a state, amid growing European frustration at the moribund Middle East peace process.

On the eve of the parliamentary debate, President Francois Hollande told French media he wanted to host an international conference "to find a solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.He did not say when such a gathering might take place or who would be invited.

French parliament is expected to be divided, with the right-wing opposition UMP party seen voting against the motion.

France was the scene of several pro-Palestinian demonstrations against Zionist regime during this summer's 50-day offensive by the Israeli in Gaza that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians.

The Jewish Agency for Israel, an advocacy group, said in September that more Jews had left France for Israel than from any other country in 2014, blaming a "climate of anti-Semitism."

Fabius has insisted that any resolution "must be useful for efforts to break the deadlock and contribute to a final resolution of the conflict," warning against a purely symbolic gesture.

"If it's a state on paper that doesn't exist in reality, that will offer nothing to the Palestinians," he told French radio.

The Palestinian Authority estimates that 134 countries have now recognised Palestine as a state.An AFP count puts the number of states that recognise Palestine at 112.

France was among 14 EU nations that voted in favour of granting Palestinian territories observer status at the United Nations in November 2012.

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