EU recognises Palestinian state ‘in principle’

European Parliament’s resolution follows removal of Hamas from terror list

The European Parliament agreed to recognise Palestinian statehood ‘in principle’, in a compromise that did not back immediate recognition of a Palestinian state. Photograph: Patrick Seeger/EPA

The European Parliament agreed to recognise Palestinian statehood ‘in principle’, in a compromise that did not back immediate recognition of a Palestinian state. Photograph: Patrick Seeger/EPA

 

The European Parliament adopted a resolution supporting Palestinian statehood in principle, in a compromise motion that did not follow some European national legislatures in backing immediate recognition of a Palestinian state.

Following a deal among the main parties, the motion, which carried by 498 votes to 88, stated: “[The European Parliament] supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced.”

Lawmakers on the left had originally wanted the EU’s 28 member states to recognise Palestine immediately without conditions.

The motion follows Sweden’s decision in October to recognise a Palestinian state and non-binding votes by parliaments in the UK, France and Ireland in favour of recognition that demonstrated growing European impatience with Israel and the stalled peace process.

Future state

Since the collapse of the latest US-sponsored peace talks in April, Israel has pressed on with building settlements in territory the Palestinians want for a future state.

However, conservatives and centrists in parliament said recognition should only form part of a negotiated agreement with Israel.

“With this vote, the European Parliament has clearly rejected an unconditional recognition separate from the peace negotiations,” said Elmar Brok, a German conservative who chairs the parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

The left emphasised there was broad support for statehood, as seen in national legislatures.

“European recognition of Palestinian statehood is not an alternative to either a two-state solution or to peace talks to achieve it but gives a vital impetus to both,” said Richard Howitt, a member of the European Parliament for the UK Labour Party.

There was no immediate reaction from the Palestinian or Israeli governments to the vote. Israel earlier expressed dismay over the decision of an EU court, based on a procedural complaint, to remove the Palestinian group Hamas from the EU’s list of terrorist organisations.

Reuters