Nabil Shaath
Nabil ShaathMiriam Alster/Flash 90

Nabil Shaath, a member of the Central Committee of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, is calling on France and other countries in the European Union (EU) to immediately recognize the “State of Palestine” and to impose significant sanctions on Israel in order to bring an end to the “occupation”.

Speaking at a meeting with a delegation from the European Commission, Shaath said that the Palestinian Authority accepts in principle the recently announced French initiative to coax Israel and the PA back to peace talks through an international peace conference.

France has threatened to unilaterally recognize “Palestine” if its initiative for a conference fails.

Shaath emphasized the importance of the existence of an international framework for the peace process, a complete cessation of Israel’s “settlement activities” and the setting of a timetable for ending the "occupation".

Abbas welcomed France’s initiative to jumpstart the peace process between via an international peace conference, calling on African nations to support the idea.

Israeli officials were not as enthusiastic about France’s proposal as Abbas, saying that they wonder "whether France will propose an international conference with ISIS, after it armed and spread terror in France?"

Should France recognize “Palestine” it would be joining a host of European countries which have already made similar moves.

Britain was the first country to vote to recognize “Palestine”. After Britain, Sweden announced it officially recognized the state of "Palestine".

In December of 2014, Portugal's parliament adopted a resolution calling on the government to recognize a Palestinian state, though Portugal's Foreign Minister Rui Machete said after the vote the government "will choose the moment best suited" to recognize the Palestinian state.

French Socialist lawmakers were in late 2014 preparing to submit a motion to parliament to recognize “Palestine” as well. At the time, Fabius said his country would not hold a vote to recognize the PA as the "state of Palestine".