Thursday

22nd Oct 2020

Spanish MPs to vote on Palestine recognition

  • Makeshift synagogue on Palestinian land in Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank (Photo: Rosie Gabrielle)

Spanish MPs will, on Tuesday (4 November), vote on a non-binding motion urging Madrid to recognise Palestinian statehood, following similar moves in Britain, Ireland, and Sweden.

The motion was tabled by Antonio Hernando Vera, an MP from the centre-left opposition party, the PSOE.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

It says Spain should “recognise Palestine as a state, subject to international law” and “promote, in co-ordination with the European Union, the [wider] recognition of the Palestinian state”.

Vera - in a statement on 16 October accompanying his motion - noted there is widespread feeling in Europe that efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict through bilateral talks alone have “run their course” and that there is a need to “be more innovative”.

He added that Israel’s summertime Gaza invasion, which killed “nearly 500 [Palestinian] children … contributed to this feeling of frustration”.

Spain already voted Yes on admitting Palestine to the UN's heritage body, Unesco, in 2011 and on making it a UN “observer state” in 2012.

Spanish MPs in 2011 also backed a motion for Spain to recognise Palestine if Arab-Israeli peace talks lead nowhere.

Meanwhile, a Spanish diplomat told EUobserver that Madrid sees itself as a “leader” in Europe on the Middle East Peace Process.

The contact said that, unlike Vera, Spain's centre-right government believes Palestinian statehood “must be the outcome of a process of direct negotiations between the parties”.

But the diplomat added that Spain's foreign minister, Jose Garcia-Margallo y Marfil, thinks the EU should prepare a plan B.

“I think he also believes that the EU should aim for consensus on this matter [Palestine recognition], considering the prospect of a sine die deadlock in negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis”.

The Spanish vote comes after MPs in Britain and Ireland last month voted Yes on similar non-binding motions.

Sweden, on 30 October, also became the first sitting EU state to recognise Palestine, while eight other now-EU countries recognised it in the 1980s.

The developments have outraged Israel’s right-wing ruling coalition.

But more than 500 Israelis last week sent a petition to Madrid urging MPs to vote Yes because, they said, Israeli settlement expansion threatens to “obliterate the chances” of a two-state solution.

It was signed by three former Israeli ministers, two former ambassadors, nine former MPs, five former senior military officers, and a Nobel laureate, as well as hundreds of other scientists, professionals, and artists.

For her part, the EU’s new foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, is to visit Israel and the West Bank on Friday in her first official foreign trip.

She noted in an interview with five leading European newspapers, out on Tuesday, that she has no say on Palestine recognition, which is a sovereign matter for EU member states.

“What’s important for me is not whether other countries, European or not, recognise Palestine. I will be happy if, at the end of my mandate [in 2019] a Palestinian state exists [in reality]”, she added.

Column

A 'geopolitical' EU Commission. Great idea - but when?

Safeguarding Europe's position starts with recognising the unpleasant reality that Europe's power is waning. Behind the facade of European cooperation, national self-interest still predominates and that has never been any different.

Rightwing MEPs bend to Saudi will after Khashoggi death

Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed two years ago on 2 October. Since then, mainly centre-right, conservative and far-right MEPs have voted down any moves to restrict, limit or ban the sales of weapons to the Saudi regime.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. Nato and EU silent on Turkey, despite Armenia's appeal
  2. EU tells UK to decide on Brexit as deal 'within reach'
  3. EU farming deal attacked by Green groups
  4. France vows tough retaliation for teacher's murder
  5. All eyes on EU court for decision on religious slaughter
  6. 'Big majority' of citizens want EU funds linked to rule of law
  7. EU declares war on Malta and Cyprus passport sales
  8. EU Commission's Libya stance undercut by internal report

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us