Tuesday

16th Jan 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?”.

Analysis

Macron's Chinese 'game of influence'

On his recent visit to China, the French president tried to take advantage of Beijing's 'divide and rule' EU approach and become the country's main interlocutor with Europe - while also calling for more EU coordination.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  2. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  3. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  4. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  5. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  6. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted
  7. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  8. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda
  9. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  10. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% Plastics Recycling Rate Attainable by 2025 New Study Shows
  11. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  12. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology

Latest News

  1. Post-Brexit trade roll-over not automatic, EU paper says
  2. Oettinger pushes plastic tax but colleagues express doubts
  3. MEPs target exports of cyber surveillance tech
  4. Kosovo killing halts EU talks in Brussels
  5. ECB withheld information on 'flawed' bank supervision
  6. Fewer MEPs than visitors turn up for Estonian PM
  7. EU names China and Russia as top hackers
  8. Ten Commandments to overcome the EU's many crises

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  2. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  6. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  7. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  8. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  9. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  10. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  11. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersCelebrating Diversity, Citizenship and the European Project With Fundació Josep Irla