Greece to hold vote on recognition of Palestine state
Greece has decided to recognize the State of Palestine as its parliament is preparing to vote on the issue later this month, reports say.
According to Thursday reports by Greek media, the non-binding vote is planned to be held on December 22, a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas travels to Athens for a two-day official visit.
During the past months, other European legislatures, including those of the UK, France, Spain, Ireland, Belgium and Portugal, have recognized the Palestinian state. In December 2014, the European Parliament also overwhelmingly backed the recognition of a Palestinian state “in principle.”
Back in June, Athens announced that its officials would begin using the term “Palestine.”
“We decided to issue instructions throughout the Greek public administration for the uniform use of the term ‘Palestine’ when we refer to our friendly country,” Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said then.
In May, the Vatican also declared in a new treaty that the Holy See had switched its diplomatic relations from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to the State of Palestine.
On November 29, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status at the UN from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” despite strong opposition from the Israeli regime and the United States.
On December 2, 2014, French lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of a motion to recognize Palestine as an independent state. The motion, urging the government to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, was backed by a majority of 339 lawmakers while 151 members voted against.
On November 18 the same year, Spanish lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a non-binding resolution on recognizing a Palestinian state. Britain and Ireland also passed similar non-binding motions.
Sweden went a step further on October 30, 2014, and officially recognized the State of Palestine, drawing stringent criticism from Tel Aviv and Washington.
Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank including East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.