French parliament passes symbolic motion recognizing Palestine


(JTA) — The French parliament’s lower house passed a nonbinding motion that encourages the government to recognize Palestinian statehood without delay.

In Tuesday’s vote, 339 National Assembly lawmakers supported the motion submitted last month by lawmakers from the ruling Socialist Party and 151 opposed it, the news website of the Europe1 radio station reported.

The motion “invites the French government to use the recognition of the state of Palestine as an instrument to bring about a definitive resolution of the conflict.” The text calls for Jerusalem to be the Palestinian state’s capital, as well as Israel’s. It further calls on the government to act “urgently” on the matter.

Last month, similar motions were passed by Britain’s House of Commons, the parliament’s lower house, and by the upper house of the Irish parliament.

Several hundred protesters, most of them Jewish, demonstrated outside the National Assembly against the motion. It was the third demonstration staged there against the motion; the CRIF Jewish umbrella federation warned that protests risked worsening France’s anti-Semitism problem.

In a statement following the vote, Israel’s embassy in Paris said, “Israel considers the vote to be an error that sends the wrong message to the peoples of the [Middle East] region. Israel underlines the fact that the consistent policy of the French government remains unchanged: Only a negotiated solution will terminate the conflict.”

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said the vote was detrimental to efforts to jump-start peace talks.

“Lawmakers who support Palestinian statehood outside of a negotiated solution between the parties are merely putting wind into the sails of Palestinian rejectionism and extremism, which is leading directly to greater violence against Israelis,” Kantor said in a statement.

The leaders of JCall, the dovish European counterpart of J Street, said they welcomed Palestinian recognition.

Citing the “slow deterioration of the situation and of the announced collapse [of peace talks] which would put an end to the Zionist project,” JCall leaders wrote in a statement Monday that they “decided to support the action taken by Palestinians to gain the recognition of their state.”

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