The movement for the recognition of Palestine is gaining momentum in the wake of Sweden’s decision to officially recognise the state. Socalist legislators are preparing a resolution that would see France join 135 other countries in recognising the state of Palestine. euractiv.fr reports.
The Socialist group in the French Parliament is drawing up a resolution inviting “the French government to use the recognition of the Palestinian state as an instrument in working towards a final resolution to the conflict,” according to an early draft proposed by the President of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Elisabeth Guigou, on 4 November.
A French parliamentary source said “since the latest conflict, and in light of the current diplomatic stand-still, the parliamentary Socialists are looking for ways to get things moving”.
The non-binding proposal must first be adopted by the Socialist group before being put to a vote in Parliament. 17 French MPs from the left wing of the Socialist Party called for the recognition of the Palestinian state in an editorial published in La Liberation.
Our source said that “parliamentary initiative is on the rise” after the Swedish government’s decision to recognise the state of Palestine, and the adoption of a similar proposal in the UK Parliament on 14 October.
>> Read: Sweden recognises Palestinian state
Sweden became the world’s 135th country, and the first in Western Europe, to recognise the state of Palestine on 30 October.
Until the Swedish announcement, support within the European Union was limited to the Eastern member states of Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, all of which already recognised the state of Palestine before their accession to the EU.
EU candidates Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and Bosnia are also already among the 135 countries, and the UK’s House of Commons adopted a motion in October, asking the British government to officially recognise the state of Palestine.
In this motion, which passed with an overwhelming majority, British legislators stated that “this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, as a contribution to securing a negotiated two state solution”.
The debate also appears to have found new impetus in Brussels. Our French parliamentary source said “we have of course been paying great attention to recent declarations from the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Policy”.
In an interview with Le Monde on 4 November, Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, said that she would be “happy if the state of Palestine existed within [her] term in office”. She added that “the question of recognition is up to the individual member states”.
French government remains cautious
The French government will not change its stance, even if the Socialist group’s resolution is adopted by the French Parliament.
The government, led by Manuel Valls, is proceeding with caution on the matter. “The French government’s position has consistently been to recognise the Palestinian state at the UN,” Stéphane le Foll, spokesperson for the French government, announced at a press conference.
“France has chosen to work towards the recognition of the state of Palestine on an international level”.
The idea of recognising Palestine is no longer a taboo subject. In 2012, France voted to give Palestine the status of an Observer State at the UN.
In his closing speech to the Conference of Ambassadors in August, following this summer’s deadly conflict, the French Foreign Affairs Minister, Laurent Fabius, said “the constant search for lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, which requires a two-state solution, supported by France, means that at some point we will have to recognise the Palestinian state”.