French MPs demand: Recognize Palestinian statehood now

Ahead of French presidential election, over 150 MPs sign letter calling on President Hollande to grant recognition of Palestinian statehood.

David Rosenberg ,

Abbas and Hollande meet in Ramallah
Abbas and Hollande meet in Ramallah
Flash 90

At least 154 French parliament members have signed on to a letter directed at French President Francois Hollande, calling on him to recognize the Palestinian Authority as a sovereign state.

Hollande, who declined to run for reelection after his approval rating sank to just 4% in November, will leave office after presidential elections in April (first round) and May (runoff).

But pro-Palestinian Authority lawmakers are hoping to prod the Socialist Party incumbent to take one final, dramatic act on the Israeli-Arab conflict before leaving office.

"France must demonstrate its determination to break the deadlock on the conflict by solemnly reaffirming, in the name of the inalienable right of self-determination, that the Palestinian people are entitled to a State,” the joint letter to Hollande reads.

"Mr. President, show yourself up to the challenge and do not miss this rendezvous with history, recognizing the State of Palestine now.”

The letter comes a year after the Hollande government’s failed push for a Middle East peace summit in Paris, which was hoped to reach a framework for a final status agreement and include representatives from both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Then-Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius had threatened to automatically recognize Palestinian statehood should Israel fail to accept PA demands at the summit, though his successor, Jean-Marc Ayrault subsequently walked back the pledge.

While a gathering was held in Paris last month, Israeli officials boycotted the event, and representatives from the UK and US successfully lobbied to water down the joint statement produced at the end of the conference, removing much of its explicitly anti-Israel content.