No Belgian recognition for ‘Palestine’ in sight, politicians say


(JTA) — Lawmakers from the parties that make up Belgium’s governing coalition denied reports that it had agreed in principle to recognize Palestinian statehood.

The Belgian Le Soir and De Standaard reported earlier this week that the four coalition parties had agreed to pass a motion in parliament favoring Belgian recognition. The government would then enact the recognition, which would make Belgium Europe’s second country to recognize “Palestine,” following Sweden’s lead in October.

The Belgian federal government’s interior minister, Didier Reynders of the Reformist Movement, played down the reports in an interview Thursday with Belgium’s Radio 1. Belgian recognition for a Palestinian state “is not on the agenda yet at all,” he said. “It should not happen in a unilateral manner, but in cooperation between Israel and Europe.”

And Peter De Roover, a lawmaker for the New Flemish Alliance, told the Joods Actueel Jewish monthly that “there is no text available on this subject, so in fact there is currently nothing” to suggest that Belgium’s government intends to recognize a Palestinian state. He said that efforts to promote recognition were a “work in progress.”

Le Soir in its report said it had reviewed the draft of a motion which said that recognition will happen “at a moment deemed appropriate.”

The reports in Belgian media followed symbolic votes in the lower houses of  the French and British parliaments, and ahead of several votes that are scheduled to take place in coming weeks in several European institutions and countries, including the European Parliament and the Danish parliament’s lower house.

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