Belgian government to support Palestine recognition

Text of motion stipulates recognition will only come ‘at a moment deemed appropriate’

The European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium (photo credit: CC BY Francisco Antunes, Flickr)
The European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium (photo credit: CC BY Francisco Antunes, Flickr)

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

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

The text for the draft of the planned motion does not set a date for recognition, the report said. The paper quoted from the text as stating that recognition will happen “at a moment deemed appropriate.”

If Belgium’s government adopts the motion and recognizes a Palestinian state, it will become Europe’s second country to do so, after the Swedish government’s recognition of a Palestinian state 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.

The European Parliament is scheduled to vote on recognizing Palestine in mid-December, although a previous attempt was delayed over disagreements about the wording of the proposal. Denmark is set to take a similar vote at the beginning of January, with Portugal and Luxembourg also planning to vote on recognition, Army Radio reported.

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 his government would not change its policy, which is to recognize Palestinian statehood only after it is agreed upon in peace between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators.

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

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