Israel Vents Fury with France after Vote to Recognise Palestine*
By Amanda Williams
Israel has furiously warned that the French parliament’s vote in favour of recognising Palestine as a state will ‘harm the peace process’.
France’s lower house of Parliament voted today 339 votes to 151 to urge the government to recognise a Palestinian state.
The vote is non-binding. Instead it is seen as a symbol of hope for the Palestinians, as support grows in Europe for two states.
But in a statement today the Israeli embassy in Paris said:
‘Israel believes that the vote in the National Assembly… will reduce the possibility of achieving a deal between Israel and the Palestinians.’
French Members of the Parliament today voted in favour of recognising Palestine as a state
The vote, approved with 339 votes to 151, is non-binding. Instead it is seen as a symbolic boost for the Palestinians, as support grows in Europe for two states
And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the French vote a ‘grave mistake’.
It comes after Sweden became the biggest Western European country to recognise Palestine, and parliaments in Spain, Britain and Ireland also backed non-binding recognition resolutions.
While most developing countries recognise Palestine as a state, most Western European countries do not.
The French government supports a Palestinian state but has said it’s too early for recognition.
France, a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council, wants peace talks to restart first.
Israel is committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state under a peace agreement, but says such resolutions encourage the Palestinians to avoid negotiations.
In October Sweden’s government became the first western European nation in the EU to recognise Palestinian statehood.
Since then, Britain, Spain and Ireland have approved non-binding motions urging recognition.
Last week members of the European Parliament began debating whether they can agree on a common approach for the European Union’s 28 member states.
France – which has western Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish populations, and has seen tensions erupt between them – has sought to keep good ties with Israeli and Palestinian authorities in recent years.
Israel’s ambassador to France spoke out against the proposed resolution last week, saying it was destructive for the peace effort.