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Norvège, Irlande, Espagne reconnaissent l'État de Palestine, exerçant des pressions sur les autres pour qu'ils fassent de même alors que l'IDF continue son assaut sur Gaza.

Publié le 4 juin 2024 Mis à jour le 4 juin 2024

Le soutien du Parlement européen à la Palestine et les récentes reconnaissances par des États européens majeurs pourraient-ils signifier que davantage d'États européens changent de position en faveur de la reconnaissance de la Palestine comme état indépendant? Une analyse de Bruno Luciano (Faculté de Philosophie et des Sciences sociales), dans The Conversation.

George Kyris, University of Birmingham and Bruno Luciano, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

Ireland, Spain and Norway have broken with the majority of European states by formally recognising Palestine as an independent state. This follows the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados that did the same earlier this year, bringing the number of UN members that recognise Palestine to 143 out of 193.

On May 10, the UN general assembly adopted a resolution giving new rights to Palestine within the organisation and calling on the security council to admit it as a full member. This has not happened yet because the US keeps vetoing the decision.

But, unlike the vast majority of UN member states that supported the resolution, most EU members did not. Indeed, still, most European states do not recognise a Palestinian state, and the war in Gaza has made the differences in how EU member states treat Palestine obvious. As a result, Spain’s wishes for a joint recognition by EU member states have not been possible. Such big decisions require consensus – and currently there isn’t one among EU governments.

This is not to say that the EU is completely neutral on Palestinian statehood. The European Council supports the right of Palestinians to have a state alongside that of Israel, although recently the president of the council came out in favour of full recognition. And, for years, the EU has given money and expertise to try to assist in building a Palestinian state – but has stopped short of recognising it.

This lack of consensus has undermined political support for EU peace initiatives in the region. That’s despite the fact the European Commission has been engaged in the peace process and has reaffirmed its commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, most recently by proposing a ten-point roadmap.

This is not the only time the sensitive issue of recognition has created divisions among EU members. EU governments have also not managed to agree on a common position on the statehood of Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008.

The European parliament

Unlike decisions at the European Council, European parliament decisions do not require consensus. This is one of the reasons the assembly has had a stronger and more positive voice on Palestinian statehood.

Strictly speaking, the European parliament does not have the official capacity to recognise states (this is something mostly done by governments). And yet, for a decade now the parliament has expressed support for the recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution. It has said that recognition should happen simultaneously with the development of peace talks.

The European parliament resolution also condemned Israel’s illegal settlements and called on the EU to contribute actively to the Middle East peace process. It also proposed the creation of the “Parliamentarians for Peace” initiative, to promote the dialogue between MEPs and Israeli and Palestinians parliamentarians.

Indeed, our research shows that setting up delegations with those seeking recognition as states is another avenue through which the European parliament has been important for recognition matters. The European parliament mantains a delegation for working with parliamentarians of the Palestinian state.

Over the past few months, this delegation has met to discuss the impact of the war on Gaza and the West Bank. Members of the delegation are some of the most vocal supporters of Palestinian rights in the EU. For example, the chair of the delegation has condemned Israel’s war on Gaza, the killing of Palestinians during aid distribution or the suspension of Unrwa funding by some donor countries.

The European parliament has also hosted robust debates on Palestine. Shortly after a resolution passed by the European parliament favouring Palestinian statehood, the president of the Palestinian authority, Mahmoud Abbas visited the European parliament and thanked MEPs for their recognition.

In recent debates on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, there have been different opinions in the chamber. The majority of the parliament voted in favour of a resolution calling for a ceasefire, the immediate release of all hostages and the dismantling of Hamas. But parliamentarians from the left voted against the resolution arguing that making the ceasefire conditional on the end of Hamas would mean that “the resolution stands with Israel”.

Who’s next?

Could the European parliament’s support for Palestine and the recent recognitions by major European states mean that more European states change their position? When, in 2014, Sweden recognised Palestine, hopes that other EU member states would do the same were disappointed. But this time things might be different. The coordination of recognition by Ireland, Norway and Spain might create the necessary momentum.

Reports suggest that Malta and Slovenia and Belgium are considering following suit, while eyes will also be on big players including France and the UK. The fact that the new recognitions have been done in the name of supporting a two-state solution – something that is generally favoured by European states – might also strengthen the hand of those states now keener to recognise a Palestinian state. It will exert pressure on more sceptical European capitals to reconsider.The Conversation

George Kyris, Associate Professor in International Politics, University of Birmingham and Bruno Luciano, MSCA Postdoctoral Fellow, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.