Sunday

19th Nov 2017

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?”.

MEPs ponder how to fight tax havens

After the Paradise Papers brought new revelations about tax dodging across the globe, including in the EU, the European Parliament wonders how to step up the fight.

News in Brief

  1. Bonn climate talks extend into Friday evening
  2. UK needs to move on Brexit by early December, Tusk says
  3. Puigdemont extradition decision postponed to December
  4. Ireland wants written UK guarantees to avoid hard border
  5. US did not obstruct climate talks, says German minister
  6. EU signs social declaration
  7. Puigdemont to be heard by Belgian judges
  8. Steep fall in migrants reaching EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  2. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  4. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  5. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  6. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  9. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  10. World Vision20 November: Exchange of Views at the EP on Children Affected by the Syria Crisis
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future
  12. EU2017EEHow Data Fuels Estonia's Economy

Latest News

  1. EU keeps former Soviet states at arm's length
  2. EU leaders make pledge on social issues after populist backlash
  3. EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK
  4. Germany slams Dutch call for more ambitious EU climate goal
  5. Mind the gap: inequality in our cities
  6. Climate activists 'disappointed' with EU at climate talks
  7. Davis outlines UK vision on Brexit in Berlin
  8. German coalition talks in near collapse