A Palestinian waves a flag near a destroyed section of the border wall between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestine Liberation Organization on Friday praised the Italian parliament's passage of a measure urging the government in Rome to recognize an independent Palestinian state, though it lamented its purely symbolic nature.
“We thank the members of Italy’s Lower House of Parliament for voting in favor of a motion from the Democratic Party of Premier Matteo Renzi that supports 'the goal of ...establishment of a Palestinian state',” read a statement issued by PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi.
"It is unfortunate, however, that the resolution did not commit to the unconditional and official recognition of the state of Palestine," the statement read.
"We are also dismayed by the second motion from the New Centre Right (NCD) that not only failed to mention the recognition of a Palestinian state, but instead called for direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis."
"Our independence is not dependent on the outcome of negotiations, mutual recognition or other preconditions," Ashrawi said. "We are entitled to self-determination and to exercise sovereignty on our own land without permission from the occupying power."
Italian lawmakers on Friday backed a non-binding resolution that encourages the government to recognize Palestine as a state, a move that underlines European frustration over stalled Middle East peace negotiations.
European countries have become increasingly critical of Israel, which since the collapse of the latest US-sponsored talks last April has pressed on with building settlements on territory the Palestinians want for their state.
Italy's Chamber of Deputies voted by 300 to 45 to pass the motion presented by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party (PD).
While most developing countries recognize Palestine as a state, most Western European governments do not, supporting the Israeli and US position that an independent Palestinian state should emerge from negotiations with Israel.
Friday's symbolic vote does not change the position of the Italian government which, like other European countries, still supports a negotiated two-state solution.
Ireland, Britain and France held similar votes in parliament toward the end of last year. Sweden went further, officially recognizing Palestine.
The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, with its capital in east Jerusalem.
While Gaza's boundaries are clearly defined, the precise territory of what would constitute Palestine in the West Bank and east Jerusalem will only be determined via negotiations with Israel on a two-state solution.