The State of Palestine: Should the EU Recognize Palestinian Statehood?

Written by | Thursday, December 12th, 2019

Josep Borrell, the EU’s new chief diplomat, should restart the debate over recognizing Palestine’s statehood, said Luxembourg’s veteran foreign minister. Jean Asselborn’s written appeal for such a discussion came during Borrell’s first EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Monday (9 December) after taking office. He argued that the debate could support efforts to find a two-state solution to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, suggesting that member states could debate recognition at a future meeting.
Any decision about establishing diplomatic relations with a new state would be taken by individual member states, but “the European Union must continue to promote and support the consensus in favor of the two-state solution,” Asselborn wrote to Borrell, who was Spain’s foreign minister before assuming his new duties in Brussels. “One way to help save this solution would be to create a more equitable situation for both parties. In this regard, I believe that it is time to start a debate within the European Union on the opportunity of a recognition of the State of Palestine by all its member states.”
The recognition of Palestine as a state is strongly opposed by Israel and its ally, the United States, who have argued this would prejudice efforts to find a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. However, some EU member states point out that Washington has already put its finger on the scales by recognizing the divided city of Jerusalem – in which Israel occupies the Palestinian eastern quarters – as Israel’s capital. The US already moved its embassy to the city in 2018, in a controversial move denounced by some European capitals.

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