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Sunday, 21 December 2014

'The EU supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks'

STRASBOURG (EJP)---The European Parliament on Wednesday voted in Strasbourg with a large majority in favour of a joint resolution that instead of calling on the EU to recognize a Palestinian state, links the EU ‘’support in principle’’ of such a recognition to the development of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. 

The resolution, which was a result of a compromise among five political groups, passed by Parliament as a whole, by 498 votes to 88, with 111 abstentions.697 members were present during the vote. Social-Democrats, the European Left and the Greens had initially put forward a motion calling for the EU to recognize Palestine statehood without conditions.

Wednesday's joint resolution was drawn up by five political groups, including the European People’s Party (EPP, centre-right), the largest in the parliament,the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), the second largest, and the Alliance of Liberal and Democrats (ALDE), the fourth largest, states thatthe EU ‘’supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advance.’’ The European Left and the Greens groups, which  had wanted an outright call for the recognition of Palestinian statehood, also joined the compromise text.

''There is no immediate unconditional recognition of statehood,'' EPP leader Manfred Weber from Germany said while his colleague from the S&D group insisted that this was a 'historic decision'' and a ''victory for the whole movement.''

The vote follows a lengthy debate in November which clearly showed a left-right split over the need to call now for unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood before an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

It also comes after a decision by Sweden in October to recognize a Palestinian state, the first EU member state to do so, followed by similar votes on this topic by the parliaments in France, Britain, Ireland, Spain and Portugal.

The joint European Parliament resolution also said the EU ‘’supports the efforts of President Abbas and the Palestinian national consensus government and stresses again the importance of consolidating the authority of the Palestinian consensus government and its administration in the Gaza Strip.’’ It also ‘’urges all Palestinian factions, including Hamas, to accept the commitments of the PLO and end internal divisions.’’

The text reiterates the EU ‘’strong support for the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, with the secure State of Israel and an independent , democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security.’’

It expresses ‘’grave concern’’ at the growing tensions and increasing violence in the region and condemns ‘’in the strongest terms all acts of terrorism or violence, and extends its condolences to the families of the victims.’’

It warns about ‘’the risks of further escalation of violence involving holy sites, which could transform the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a religious conflict.’’

It calls on political leaders from all sides ‘’to work together through visible actions to deescalate the situation’’ and stresses that ‘’non-violent means and respect for human rights and humanitarian law are the only way to achieve a sustainable solution and a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.’’ 

It stresses that ‘’any violent action can only fuel extremism on both sides; urges all parties to refrain from any action that would worsen the situation by way of incitement, provocation, excessive use of force or retaliation.’’

The resolution underlines that ‘’settlements are illegal under international law’’ andcalls on both parties ‘’to refrain from any action which may undermine the viability and the prospects of the two-state solution.’’ 

''The EU underlines the need for a comprehensive peace, ending all claims and fulfilling the legitimate aspirations of both parties, including those of Israelis for security and those of Palestinians for statehood''. ''The only possible solution to the conflict is the coexistence of two States, Israel and Palestine,'' the parliament said.

In order to complement EU diplomatic efforts and to help advance an agenda for peace, the resolution calls for the launch of a ''Parliamentarians for Peace'' initiative which aims to bring together cross-party members of European, Israeli and Palestinian parliaments.

The vote on this motion for resolution comes as Israel is in the midst of a general election campaign. Elections are set for March 17.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 13:53

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