Vote in the European Parliament on Palestinian statehood

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets the European Union's new foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Ramallah on November 8, 2014.Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets the European Union’s new foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Ramallah on November 8, 2014.

By Yossi Lempkowicz

Vote in the European Parliament on Palestinian statehood is “irresponsible” as “it gives the Palestinians the idea that they can get everything they want without negotiations”

The European Parliament is scheduled to vote next week, during its plenary session in Strasbourg, whether to recognize a Palestinian state.

The vote on a non-binding resolution tabled by the Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) with the support of the Unified European Left Party (GUE/NGL), was originally to take place at the end of last month after a debate on this topic but it was postponed to December 17 at the request of the European People’s Party (EPP), the largest political group in the parliament, because of difficulties between the political groups regarding the text of the resolution, opposition to the initiative from several MEPs from various political groups – especially German MEPs- and intense lobbying in Brussels.

The 751 parliament members will now vote on an agreed text next week.

The debate and vote on this divisive issue follows a decision by Sweden in October to recognize a Palestinian state, the first EU member state to do so, and non-binding votes in the French, British, Spanish and Irish parliaments endorsing such a recognition.

Israel views unilateral moves to recognize a Palestinian state as “irresponsible” because “it gives the Palestinians the idea that they can get everything they want without negotiations”, Israeli Foreign Ministry deputy spokesperson, Paul Hirschson, told European journalists on a recent visit organized by the Europe Israel Press Association (EIPA).

“Europe makes it worse as it will be difficult to make them compromise,” he added.

“This conflict will only be resolved through direct negotiations and compromises between Israel and the Palestinians,” he said. “While Israel remains committed to this process, the Palestinians continue to attempt to bypass direct negotiations,” he added.

“Europe is making a big mistake, such resolutions are not persuading Palestinians to come to the negotiating table.”

For years, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has conducted an international campaign designed to achieve Palestinian goals without having to make any of the compromises necessary for peace:

This campaign, which is aimed at forcing their positions on Israel through third-party pressure, is implemented in international institutions, including the UN. It includes the November 2012 UN General Assembly vote on Non-Member State status and the PA’s accession to international conventions.

A premature recognition of a Palestinian state will harm chances for peace as it:

Disregards the importance of reaching a solution that serves the interest of all sides to the conflict.

Allows the Palestinians to ignore Israel’s legitimate concerns, especially in regard to security issues.

Does not take into account the complicated key permanent status issues (including borders, security, water and refugees) that can only be settled by agreement between the parties.

Rewards the Palestinian Authority – at a time of heightened terrorism and official incitement – for choosing Hamas as its partner in government and fails to dissuade Hamas and other Palestinian factions from using violence and terrorism to advance their agenda.

Endorses the establishment of a state based on violence, terrorism and animosity towards Israel, which can only lead to future conflicts.

Erodes the already damaged trust between the two sides and undermines Israeli trust in relevant third parties.

During the debate in the European Parliament on Palestinian statehood, on November 26, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini cast doubt on the movement to recognize Palestine as a state, asking whether the gesture would promote a Middle East peace settlement.

“The recognition of the state and even the negotiations are not a goal in itself, the goal in itself is having a Palestinian state in place and having Israel living next to it,” Mogherini said.

Mogherini said she favoured involving Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Arab League in a regional initiative that recycles elements of a failed Arab plan from 2002.