Belgian government to support recognizing Palestine


(JTA) — The parties that make up Belgium’s federal government have agreed to recognize Palestinian statehood unilaterally, a Belgian daily reported.

The four parties reached an agreement earlier this week, the Le Soir daily reported Wednesday. They intend to submit a motion to parliament formulating support for recognizing Palestinian statehood, which the parties intend to pass in parliament and the government is planning to implement.

However, the text for the draft of the planned motion does not set a date for recognition, Le Soir reported. Quoting from the text, the paper said it states that recognition will happen “at a moment deemed appropriate.”

If Belgium’s government eventually recognizes a Palestinian state, it would be the second country in Europe to do so following Sweden’s recognition in October.

The four coalition parties that agreed to promote recognition are the Reformist Movement, the Flemish Liberals and Democrats, the Christian-Democratic & Flemish Party and the New Flemish Alliance.

On Tuesday, the French parliament’s lower house passed a nonbinding motion encouraging the government to recognize Palestinian statehood, though French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the government would not change its policy, which is to recognize Palestinian statehood only after it is agreed upon in peace talks between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators.

The French Senate is scheduled to vote on a similar motion on Dec. 11, which is also nonbinding.

The vote in France follows similar mostly symbolic motions passed in the lower house of the British parliament and by Ireland’s upper house last month.

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