24th Sep 2023

Greek parliament to recognise Palestine

  • Greek PM Tsipras (r) receiving Palestinian leader Abbas (l): "When the time is deemed to be right, Greece will make the necessary steps." (Photo: Greek PM office)

The Greek parliament is expected to recognise Palestine as a state Tuesday (22 December). The vote will be on a non-binding resolution but will be highly symbolic as Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will first address the assembly.

Meeting Abbas on Monday (21 December), Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras announced that the name "Palestine" will replace "Palestinian Authority" in all Greek public documents.

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He told the Palestinian leader that his government supported a two-state solution that “guarantees the establishment of a viable, territorially unified, independent and sovereign Palestinian state … which will coexist in peace and security with Israel."

“Greece can play the role of a bridge in the direction of a just and viable solution to the Palestine issue,” Abbas said after his meeting with Tsipras.

“We give new impetus to the resolution of the Palestinian issue," he added.

Although Greece and Israel enjoy good relations, recognition of Palestine as a state has been a promise of Tsipras' government since its election last January.

 Tsipras' party, radical left Syriza, has been traditionally pro-Palestinian. Its electoral platform in 2012 called for the "abolition of military cooperation with Israel [and] support for creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders."

The resolution voted by the Greek parliament will be non-binding on the government, similar to resolutions voted by the British, the French and other national parliaments in the EU.

On Monday, Tsipras said full recognition is not being considered.

“When the time is deemed to be right, Greece will make the necessary steps,” he said. 

So far, only eight EU member states have recognised the Palestinian state. But only Sweden did it after its accession to the EU, in October 2014.

The others, mainly countries from the former Soviet bloc, recognised Palestine in 1988 when the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) published a Palestinian Declaration of Independence.

German chancellor Angela Merkel, for her part, said a recognition would be a "unilateral step."

Concerns over the Israeli and US reactions have so far prevented the EU from taking position on recognition of Palestine.

In December 2014, the European Parliament also voted for a non-binding resolution to support "in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution."

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