Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has warned it would be a “grave mistake” for the French parliament to follow the suit of several other European nations in recognizing a Palestinian state in a vote scheduled early December.
“Recognition of a Palestinian state by France would be a grave mistake,” Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem. “Do they have nothing better to do at a time of beheadings across the Middle East, including that of a French citizen?” apparently referring to Herve Gourdel executed by Algerian jihadists in September.
“The State of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, the only state that we have, and the Palestinians demanding a state do not want to recognize the right to have a state for the Jewish people,”Netanyahu added.
Just hours before the statement, the Israeli government approved a controversial ‘Jewish state bill’, which the critics already called anti-democratic. If approved by the parliament on Wednesday, it will redefine Israel as the “national homeland of the Jewish people” instead of a “Jewish and Democratic State.”
A symbolic vote planned in the French parliament on December 2 will call on the government to “use the recognition of the state of Palestine as an instrument to gain a definitive resolution of the conflict” and follows a similar motion adopted by Spain last week.
Earlier the UK adopted a similar non-binding resolution calling for recognition of the Palestinian state as a step to securing a two-state solution.
Meanwhile Sweden has become the first West-European EU state to officially recognize the occupied state of Palestine, infuriating Israel who recalled its ambassador in Sweden.
A vote at the UN General Assembly in 2012 secured de facto Palestinian statehood, although a ‘yes’ vote from most EU members is still pending. While Sweden is the first EU member in Western Europe to have recognized the state, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta, Romania, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic have already done so.