France to vote November 28 on Palestinian state recognition

"From the moment when we say that there are two states, there will be recognition of a Palestinian state. That goes without saying, it's logical," says French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

November 12, 2014 15:00
3 minute read.
Protesters gather at Place de la Republique

Parisians gather at Place de la Republique to support Gaza. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The French Foreign Ministry warned on Wednesday that it could unilaterally recognize Palestine as a state, if peace talks are not resumed with Israel.

The ministry’s spokesman in Paris restated the country’s position in advance of two non-binding symbolic parliamentary motions on the matter.

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On November 28, parliamentarians in the French National Assembly will vote on recognizing Palestine as a state and the Senate will follow suit on December 11.

The motion, put forward by the ruling Socialist bloc and the Left Front party, asks the French government to "use the recognition of a Palestinian state as an instrument to achieve a definitive solution to the conflict."

The National Assembly still needs to to formally ratify the motion.

It is unclear whether lawmakers would vote in favor of the motions, an edict which has caused anger with some pro-Israel members on all sides of the political spectrum.

A reporter in Paris asked the French Foreign Ministry if the moment had not come for France to recognize Palestine as a state.

In response the ministry’s spokesman Romain Nadal said. “The degradation of the situation in Jerusalem, in the Palestinian territories as well as in Israel, reminds us how much it is urgent to re-launch the peace process by credible negotiations in order to lead to the creation of a viable and independent Palestinian State, living in peace and security side-by-side with Israel.”

He added, “France is active, with all its European partners and its partners from the United Nations Security Council, in order to examine the conditions for a quick resumption of the negotiations.”

Nadal referenced a past statement by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. As he stated, Nadal recalled, “France is deeply committed to the Two-state solution. This solution implies that there will necessarily be a recognition of the Palestinian state by France. If negotiations happened to be impossible, or if it had no conclusions, then France should face its responsibilities.”

Paris supported Palestine’s membership in the United Nations cultural agency UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization and its non-member observer country status at the United Nations.

It is not the only European country flirting with recognizing Palestine as a state.

The Swedish government did so last month. Parliamentarians in England and Ireland have held non-binding votes calling on their governments to do the same. Spain, Denmark and Finland are also likely to hold such votes.

On Tuesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that such votes are harmful to the peace process. The conflict will only be resolved if Palestinians achieve statehood through direct peace negotiations, he said.

The prime minister spoke as part of a video address he delivered from Jerusalem to the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly, which met this week in National Harbor, Maryland.

“Rather than help advance peace, many in the international community are setting back the cause of peace by convincing

Palestinians that they can have a state without making peace with Israel,” Netanyahu said.

It’s “absurd” to do so without “demanding an end to the Palestinian Authority's pact with Hamas,” he said.

It’s “unjust” to do so, “without demanding that the Palestinians recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people is unjust,” Netanyahu said.

It’s “reckless” to do so, “without demanding an end to incitement in official Palestinian media and schools,” Netanyahu said.

It’s “dangerous” to do so “without demanding robust security arrangements to enable Israel to protect itself and the peace,” he said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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