STRASBOURG (Dec. 18)
The Parliament of Europe voted 60-52 late Thursday for a resolution urging the 12 nations of the European Community to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization as the “Palestinian government in exile.”
The resolution also stressed the “usefulness” of a direct meeting between the E.C. foreign ministers and PLO chief Yasir Arafat.
But the European Community is wary of such moves at this time. And even in the more sympathetic parliament, its legislative body, little more than a fifth of the 518 members participated in the vote. There were 10 abstentions.
Supporting the resolution were the Communist deputies, part of the Socialist faction, the Spanish Conservatives and the ecological Greens.
The Liberals, British Conservatives and French Gaullists voted against it, while the French Socialists and Christian Democrats abstained.
The resolution also asked the various Palestinian components and the Israelis to refrain from any acts of violence or provocation in the Israeli-administered territories.
It called on the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
The balloting in the parliament here last Thursday coincided with the 104-2 vote at the U.N. General Assembly in Geneva to recognize the Palestinian state proclaimed by Arafat in Algiers last month.
Only Israel and the United States were opposed. But there were 36 abstentions, including all of E.C. member states.
NO POSITION ON DECLARED STATE
Although Arafat visited the parliament here last September at the invitation of the Socialist faction, the European Community has yet to take an explicit position on recognition of the proclaimed state.
The explanation given here is that any Middle East peace settlement “implies the creation of a defined territory for the Palestinian state, which guarantees Israel’s right to exist within secure and internationally recognized boundaries.”
Similarly, the 12 E.C. countries, while welcoming the Algiers declarations as “positive steps,” individually stopped short of recognizing the Palestinian state.
Several of the deputies here expressed regret that the 12 E.C. leaders were unable to “make a more significant gesture” at their summit meeting in Rhodes earlier this month.
But the United States was praised for its decision last week to establish an official dialogue with the PLO.
In Rome, the Vatican also hailed the American decision.
“Finally, there has arrived the good news that could open the road to a negotiated settlement for the Middle East,” a Vatican radio commentator said.
He called the American move “completely unexpected” and said it was “a sign that reason is beginning to prevail.”
JTA correspondent Ruth E. Gruber in Rome contributed to this report.