Luxembourg pushing for recognition of 'Palestine'

Luxembourg pushing for all EU member states to recognize Palestinian state in response to US policy shift on Judea and Samaria.

Elad Benari,

Luxembourg
Luxembourg
iStock

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn is pushing for all member states of the European Union to recognize “Palestine”, European officials told Barak Ravid of Channel 13 News on Sunday.

The move would be a reaction to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent announcement that the US does not view the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria as illegal.

Luxemburg is one of the smallest countries in the EU, but Asselborn — who has served in his position for 15 years — has significant standing and influence among Europe's foreign ministers, noted Ravid.

His efforts also come in the context of a relative diplomatic vacuum regarding the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict, as well as concerns within the EU about the Trump administration's policies toward the region.

According to Ravid’s report, last week, Asselborn sent a letter to the new EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and to all other EU foreign ministers stressing that the way to save the two-state solution is to create “a more equitable situation” between Israel and the Palestinians.

Therefore, he wrote, "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."

Asselborn also wrote in his letter, "The recognition of Palestine as a State would neither be a favor, nor a blank check, but a simple recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to their own State. In no way would it be directed against Israel. Indeed, if we want to contribute to solving the conflict between Israel and Palestine, we must never lose sight of Israel’s security conditions, as well as of justice and dignity for the Palestinian people.”

The letter was sent in advance of the monthly meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Monday in Brussels. The Israeli Foreign Ministry discovered the initiative last Friday and urgently sent Israeli diplomats scrambling across the continent to find out whether the EU was prepared to take the dramatic step, according to Channel 13 News.

Israel is very concerned about the initiative. But while ministers are expected to take note of Asselborn's letter, Israeli and European officials say the issue will not be discussed in Monday's meeting.

A broader discussion about the issue is expected to take place during the next EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in January.

Pompeo’s announcement on the legal status of the communities in Judea and Samaria was welcomed in Israel but caused an uproar in the Arab world.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the official spokesman for Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, said Pompeo’s declaration “is null and void, condemned and totally contradicts with international law, resolutions of the international legitimacy that reject settlements, and Security Council resolutions, especially resolution 2334.”

PA officials have been pressuring countries to officially recognize “Palestine”, in a move meant to bypass direct peace talks with Israel.

While several European countries have recognized “Palestine” in recent years, those moves were symbolic ones that have little, if any, actual diplomatic effect.




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