French lawmakers have voted 339 to 151 in favour of a symbolic motion to recognise Palestine as a state.
The National Assembly’s vote on Tuesday is likely to raise domestic political pressure on the French government to be more active on the issue.
We wish to express our gratitude to the members of the French parliament for adopting a resolution on the side of justice and human dignity
While the vote is non-binding, Paris has in the past already made known that it plans to recognise a Palestinian nation “when the time comes”, arguing that a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict logically implies recognition of Palestine.
The text introduced by the ruling Socialists “invites the French government to use the recognition of the state of Palestine as an instrument to gain a definitive resolution of the conflict”.
The vote will likely anger Israel further after similar resolutions were approved by British MPs on October 13 and Spanish MPs on November 18. Sweden also voted to recognise Palestine as a state on October 30.
“Israel believes that the vote in the National Assembly … will reduce the possibility of achieving a deal between Israel and the Palestinians,” the Israeli embassy in Paris said in a statement less than an hour after the motion was passed.
Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, reporting from Jerusalem, said: “When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked about the motion, he said it would be a ‘grave mistake’.”
“Subdued anger is likely to be their response.”
The Palestinian leadership urged France to act on the parliamentary vote.
“We call on the French government to translate its parliament’s vote into action,” Hanan Ashrawi, a senior leader in the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said in a statement.
“We wish to express our gratitude to the members of the French parliament for adopting a resolution on the side of justice and human dignity,” she said.
“For peace to prevail, support for the two-state solution must be more than lip service.
“If members of the international community are serious about the creation of the independent Palestinian state… they must undertake serious and concrete measures to end the occupation and to recognise the State of Palestine.”
Last week, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told MPs the UN Security Council was working on a resolution to relaunch and conclude peace talks.
“A deadline of two years is the one most often mentioned and the French government can agree with this figure,” he said.
Fabius also said France was prepared to host international talks to drive the peace bid forward.
“An international conference could be organised. France is prepared to take the initiative on this. And in these talks, recognition [of the Palestinian state] would be an instrument… for the definitive resolution of the conflict,” he said.
“If these efforts fail, if this last attempt at a negotiated settlement does not work, then France will have to do its duty and recognise the state of Palestine without delay and we are ready to do that,” stressed Fabius, without fixing a deadline for such recognition.