Wednesday

27th Mar 2019

Spanish MPs build EU support for Palestine recognition

  • Jimenez was Spain's foreign minister from 2010 to 2011 (Photo: psoe.es)

The Spanish Congress has backed a non-binding motion to recognise Palestine, as France prepares for a similar move next week.

The non-binding resolution passed by 319 votes against two, with one abstention on Tuesday (18 November).

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It “urges the government to recognise Palestine as a state … [while] reaffirming the conviction that the only solution to the conflict is the coexistence of two states, Israel and Palestine”.

It adds “the recognition … must result from a process of negotiation between the parties to guarantee peace and security for both”.

It also calls on the government to “promote co-ordination within the EU” on wider Palestine recognition.

It was tabled by Trinidad Jimenez, a former foreign minister from the opposition centre-left party.

But the left and the ruling centre-right People’s Party made changes after two Palestinians murdered four Jews at a synagogue in Jerusalem earlier the same day.

The original draft had said recognition of Palestine would help create a negotiated settlement, instead of saying recognition “must result from a process of negotiation”.

An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon, said before the vote: “We call on Spain not to make unilateral moves, particularly on a shocking day like today”.

Tuesday’s motion is unlikely to prompt immediate action by Madrid.

But Spain’s foreign minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, told press in Brussels on Monday: “We have the feeling that time is running out … either we do something fairly quickly or the two-state solution will be physically impossible”.

He was referring to Israeli settlement plans that will cut off Jerusalem from the West Bank and cut the West Bank in two.

French MPs are to vote on a similar motion next week.

The office of Elisabeth Guigou, an MP from the ruling Socialist party who chairs the foreign affairs committee, told EUobserver the party will adopt a final draft of the motion on Wednesday.

It added the debate and vote is expected to take place next Friday (28 November).

Guigou’s current draft “invites the French government to recognise the Palestinian state in order to attain a definitive solution to the conflict”.

It speaks of Israel’s “illegal colonisation of Palestinian territories”.

British and Irish MPs also called for Palestine recognition in symbolic votes last month, while Sweden became the first sitting EU state to formally recognise Palestine.

Meanwhile, EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini said on Tuesday the attack in Jerusalem "is an act of terror against worshipers at morning prayers and is condemnable by all means".

"I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims".

But she added: "The lack of progress towards the two-state solution will systematically ensure the next round of violence".

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