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22 May, 2024 14:02

Not the right time to recognize Palestine – France

The statement by the country’s foreign minister comes after Norway, Ireland and Spain announced plans to formally establish diplomatic relations with the Palestinian state
Not the right time to recognize Palestine – France

Conditions for France to officially recognize Palestine as a state have not yet been met, French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said on Wednesday.

His claim came after Norway, Ireland and Spain announced they will formally recognize Palestinian statehood from May 28, in support of the so-called “two state solution” intended to bring peace to the Middle East.

Our position is clear: the recognition of a Palestinian state is not a taboo for France,” AFP quoted Sejourne as saying. The foreign minister reiterated the stance first voiced by President Emmanuel Macron in February.

“France does not consider that the conditions have been present to date for this decision to have a real impact” on the political process in the region, Sejourne added. He did not elaborate further.

Earlier this month, France called for the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Macron made the statement following the visit to Paris of Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

The so-called two-state solution, a plan to create a Palestinian state within the territory occupied by Israel since 1967, is supported by the UN and many nations, including Israel’s key ally the US. If implemented, it would likely require the removal of Israeli settlers from the occupied territories.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly vowed to prevent Palestinian statehood.

Norway, Ireland, and Spain are just the latest Wetern countries to recognize Palestinian statehood. Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia did so in 1988, with Sweden joining them in 2014. Russia and China support an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The push for Palestinian statehood has intensified since the conflict between Israel and Hamas flared up nearly eight months ago.

The Israeli government launched an offensive against Hamas in Gaza after the Palestinian militant group attacked Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostages. The death toll from Israel’s campaign in the enclave has surpassed 35,000, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Prime Minister Netanyahu recently ordered an assault into the city of Rafah, which his government says harbors the last Hamas battalions. The operation kicked off despite international calls to hold off to avoid mass civilian casualties. More than a million people fleeing the fighting have sought refuge there.

Last week, the EU urged Israel to end its incursion into Rafah “immediately,” warning that a failure to do so would undermine relations with the bloc.