After the struggle for many decades, finally major European countries are recognizing Palestine as an independent governing state with its people and territory as stipulated by international law. Britain and Ireland are the first countries to have recognized, Sweden and Spain followed later and now France has also casted the lower house Parliament vote in favor of recognizing Palestine state.
It is a huge step and a likely move that has a cascade of support for the decades old cause of Palestine, yet at the same time criticism of Israel policy across Europe. The decision is not likely to affect France Foreign policy, but is expected to have resistance from Israel that has most populated parts of Muslims and Jewish equally.
French public had started open criticism and protests against Israel negative military campaign for Hamas. There has been a rise in antagonism and growing negative sentiments in the general public in Europe, especially by Muslims against Israel’s radical approach and policies.
Although the decision has been taken with much relief from the majority of European quarters, it has at the same time raised concerns from other segments of general public and officials. It has been stated by secretary general of the European Jewish Council that the decision is going to further tense and threaten the already existing crises in the Middle East region.
Earlier this week, France had issued a warning that it would recognize Palestine as an independent state only when the last negotiable efforts would fail through the beckoning of United Nations and had held its decision till December 2nd. After the failure of such efforts, there was no stopping or delaying the decision of French Parliament. According to an estimate around 63 percent of the French public supported Palestinian state.
France was said to have pressure from the international community to accept the two independent states and take a final step towards peace process. Palestinians have always demanded declaration of state in Israel captured West Bank and Gaza strip that has been in Israel control since 1967.
Sweden is another major country in Western Europe to recognize Palestine as an independent state this year in October. In an official statement by Sweden foreign minister, it was reported that Sweden is accepting state-hood of Palestine as there was no other solution to end radicalization, violence and war in the region.
Palestine has also been recognized as an independent state by Britain and Spain earlier. The overwhelming one-sided parliament vote, with 274 in favor and only 12 against depicts the unanimous opinion by the parliament.
In November, Spanish parliament also gave unanimous decision to declare Palestine state-hood with only two votes against and 319 in favor. These are symbolic votes which can help resolve the crises and promote further steps to be taken in declaration of two-state ideology and resolution of Arab-Israel
Israel Embassy in Paris and other countries have condemned the vote. The declaration of Palestine as an independent state has been stated as an error and a wrong decision that will not only be interpreted wrongly by the public and officials but will also complicate the situation of Arab-Israel conflict in the region.
By Atika Jilani
Photo by Scottgunn – Flickr License