On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the French parliament would be making a “grave mistake” if it chooses to recognize the state of Palestine when it votes on the matter on December 2nd.
“Do they have nothing better to do at a time of beheadings across the Middle East, including that of a French citizen?” he said, referring to French hiker Herve Gourdel who was killed by his captors in Algeria in September.
“Recognition of a Palestinian state by France would be a grave mistake. 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 told reporters in Jerusalem, speaking in front of growing French-Jewish community in Israel.
His comments came hours after the Israeli cabinet voted in favor of a contentious proposal to legally anchor Israel as “the national homeland of the Jewish people”, despite its democratic charter.
France’s plans for the highly symbolic, non-binding resolution follows similar votes taken by Britain’s and Spain’s parliaments, and the Swedish government’s official decision to recognize the state of Palestine – the move had infuriated Israel, which countered by recalling its Swedish ambassador.
The British parliament voted in favor of a resolution to “recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution” on October 13th.
A draft of the French proposal “invites the French government to use the recognition of the state of Palestine as an instrument to gain a definitive resolution of the conflict”.
European governments are starting to show signs of impatience with Israel, especially over its settlement policy on occupied Palestinian territory.
According to the Palestinian Authority, 135 nations recognize the state of Palestine; the number is, however, disputed, since several recognitions date back to the Soviet era.
Fourteen EU member nations, including France, had voted in favor of granting observer status to Palestinian territories in the UN in November 2012.