French lawmakers set to debate Palestine statehood


French lawmakers prepare to debate a motion that will call on the Paris government to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state.

The non-binding, though highly symbolic, motion is scheduled to be debated at the French national parliament on Friday.

A draft of the proposal by the ruling Socialists’ bloc “invites the French government to use the recognition of the state of Palestine as an instrument to gain a definitive resolution of the conflict”.

The lower house of the parliament is expected to pass the motion comfortably on December 2 and the Senate on December 11.

The developments come as French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said in a recent interview that Paris would “obviously at a certain moment recognize the Palestinian state”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already warned France against an imminent vote by French lawmakers.

The vote comes hot on the heels of a similar resolution approved by several European nations in recent months.

Earlier on November 18, Spanish lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a non-binding resolution on recognizing a Palestinian state. It urged Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy “to promote in coordination with the European Union the recognition of the Palestinian state as sovereign, contiguous, democratic and independent.”

Britain and Ireland have already passed similar non-binding motions. On October 30, Sweden went a step further and officially recognized the state of Palestine, drawing stringent criticism from Israel and the United States.

On November 29, 2012, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer “state.”

The observer state status grants Palestinians access to UN agencies and the International Criminal Court (ICC), where they can file formal complaints against the Israeli regime.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, 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.

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