Written by 18:54 World

Can European Recognition Bring Palestinian Statehood Any Closer?

The decision by Spain, Norway and Ireland to recognize an independent Palestinian state reflects growing exasperation with the Israel of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even from traditional friends, and suggests that international pressure on him will grow.

It does not, however, make it inevitable that other larger European states will follow suit. This year President Emmanuel Macron of France has said such recognition is “not a taboo,” a position reiterated by the French Foreign Ministry on Wednesday. In February, David Cameron, Britain’s foreign secretary, said that such recognition “can’t come at the start of the process, but it doesn’t have to be the very end of the process.”

Those were small steps, although beyond anything they have said previously, but far short of recognition of a Palestinian state itself. If Europe were unified, with the major states joining in recognition, leaving the United States isolated in rejecting such a step, then it could have a greater impact, but that stage is far from being reached.

“This decision must be useful, that is to say allow a decisive step forward on the political level,” Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné said in a statement about potential recognition. “France does not consider that the conditions have been met to date for this decision to have a real impact on this process.”

France, in other words, will wait. So, too, will Germany, whose support for Israel, rooted in atonement for the Holocaust, is second only to that of the United States. The decision of Spain, Norway and Ireland has made one thing clear: There will be no European unity, or at least aligned timing, on the question of recognition of a Palestinian state before such a state exists on the ground.


Last modified: 24 May 2024