Spain’s Congress recognizes Palestinian state reached through talks


(JTA) — Spain’s Congress unanimously passed a nonbinding motion calling on the government to recognize Palestinian statehood, but added that it must be reached through negotiations with Israel.

The text passed Tuesday by the Congress of Deputies, Spain’s lower house, was the result of lengthy negotiations on the precise wording of the draft motion between the ruling Popular Party and the opposition Socialist Workers’ Party, which filed the motion last month.

The motion calls on the government to “recognize Palestine as a state” but also adds that such recognition “must be the result of a negotiation process between the parties that guarantees peace and security for both.”

The Popular Party, which has 185 seats out of 350 in the Spanish Congress, said hours before the vote that it would support recognition of a Palestinian state only if it is the result of talks with Israel.

Israel and the United States also maintain that the recognition of a Palestinian state should be the result of talks between the parties.

The future Palestinian state is described in the motion as “a sovereign, democratic and independent state,” the Cadena SER radio network reported. The original draft filed by the Socialist Workers’ included the word “contiguous,” but it was dropped from the approved text.

Daniel Fernandez of the Spanish pro-Israel ACOM group told JTA that he considered the vote a “major achievement” because “what started out as a pro-Palestinian initiative basically became an endorsement of Israel’s policy.”

The vote in Spain follows votes in Britain’s House of Commons and Ireland’s upper house, which both approved nonbinding motions recognizing the state of Palestine without any reference to negotiations as a condition. Sweden also recognized a Palestinian state last month without such a stipulation.

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