23rd Mar 2018

EU parliament to vote on Palestine statehood

The European Parliament will in Strasbourg on Thursday (27 November) add its voice to the debate on whether EU states should recognise Palestine.

The motion was initiated at the 11th hour by the left-wing Gue and S&D groups in the EU assembly.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Israel is a divisive issue in the EU assembly, with groups split both internally and among each other (Photo: European Parliament)

It’s too early to say what the final text of the resolution will propose.

Gue’s draft text “urges all EU member states … to recognise the state of Palestine on the basis of the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital”.

The Greens are likely to back Gue. But the liberal Alde group’s initial draft only calls for EU countries “to find a common EU position on this regard”.

The centre-right EPP and centre-left S&D factions - the two biggest ones - told EUobserver their texts are not yet ready.

Whatever it ends up saying, the MEPs’ motion will not be binding on EU countries.

But it comes amid a wave of pro-recognition sentiment in Europe.

Last month, Sweden became the first sitting EU state to formally recognise Palestine.

British, Irish, and Spanish MPs have urged their governments to follow suit.

One day after the EU parliament vote, French MPs will debate a similar resolution, with their vote due later on Friday or the following Tuesday (2 December).

The French draft motion, tabled by the ruling Socialist party, invites “the French government to recognise the Palestinian state with a view to obtaining a definitive solution" to the conflict.

Meanwhile, over 700 Israeli VIPs, artists, and professionals have sent a petition to MEPs asking them to support recognition.

Amid recent violence in Jerusalem, they warn the current “stalemate” will “lead to further confrontations”.

The signatories include former Israeli ambassadors, military officers, and MPs.

One of them, Michael Ben-Yair, Israel’s former attorney general, said in an op-ed for EUobserver that Israel's occupation of Palestine "is not only morally unjustifiable, it also undermines Israel’s security and endangers its existence”.

For their part, Israeli authorities say they are not occupying anything because Gaza and the West Bank are “terra nullius” or “no man’s land”.

They also say “unilateral” actions by EU countries harm prospects of a negotiated solution by hardening Palestinian negotiators.

Who cares?

One senior EU diplomat told this website the pro-recognition feeling reflects “frustration” that Israel is ignoring Europe on settlement expansion.

EU states have also brainstormed sanctions-type moves, such as recalling ambassadors.

But the diplomat said European pressure is unlikely to have much effect.

Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain on Thursday urged Israel not to demolish the homes of Palestinians involved in recent Jerusalem attacks. But Israel is doing it anyway.

The EU is Palestine’s largest aid donor and Israel’s main trade partner.

The US is Israel’s security sponsor. But its last attempt to manage Israel-Palestine peace talks collapsed in April.

“We’re waiting to see if the Americans decide to re-engage”, the EU diplomat said.

He noted that former US presidents, such as Bill Clinton, left it until the last year of their second term before trying to get a Middle East breakthrough.

“That means we might be waiting [for US leader Barack Obama] until late 2015 or early 2016. The big question is what do we do if the Americans don’t re-engage? Do we just continue to keep paying the bill?”.


Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea

Together with many other partners, including the United States, Canada and Norway, the European Union has implemented a policy of non-recognition and sanctions regimes, targeting people and entities that have promoted Russia's illegal annexation.

News in Brief

  1. EU will be exempted from tariffs, says US minister
  2. Malmstroem: EU 'hopes' for US tariffs exemption
  3. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says
  4. Italy's centre-right set to share top posts with 5-star movement
  5. Brussels condemns tear gas in Kosovo parliament
  6. Finland pays billionaire €400,000 in EU farm subsidies
  7. 44 leaders sign up for Africa free trade area deal
  8. British 'blue' passports to be made in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU summit takes hard look at Russia
  2. Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing
  3. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  4. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  5. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  6. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  7. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  8. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  2. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  3. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework
  4. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  5. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  7. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  8. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections