Paris suburb rescinds symbolic recognition of ‘Palestine’


(JTA) — A month after its symbolic recognition of “the state of Palestine,” the Paris suburb of Gennevilliers has rescinded its gesture under pressure from the regional government.

The office of Mayor Patrice Leclerc, a Communist Party of France politician who made the so-called recognition Jan. 21 in a document he sent to other mayors, nullified the policy paper on Feb. 14, the National Bureau Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, said Thursday in a statement.

Leclerc nullified the recognition move, which had no bearing on French foreign policy, following the intervention of Pierre Soubelet, a politician for the France on the March! party of President Emmanuel Macron. Soubelet, a former army general, heads the Hauts-de-Seine region, which includes Gennevilliers.

The mayor of the suburb of Bezons, Dominique Lesparre, also of the Communist Party, also signed a declaration saying his municipality recognizes a Palestinian state. BMVCA has petitioned the Val d’Oise region to use its power to nullify the policy of the City Council of Bezons.

In his letter to other mayors, Leclerc explained that the recognition of Palestine was designed to force a change in the national government’s position on the issue, which is that recognition of a Palestinian state should not precede the signing of a permanent agreement on the creation of such an entity between representatives of the Palestinian people and Israel.

“France by the actions of its former foreign minister Laurent Fabius spoke out at the end of 2016 about the possibility of recognizing Palestine in case the peace process hits a dead end. But nothing was done,” Leclerc wrote in the statement. “President Emmanuel Macron refuses to have France follow through, but if thousands of localities in France issue this official order, this taking up of positions by municipalities will lead to recognition.”

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