The European Union has distributed a confidential document to its 28 member states that contains the draft of a proposal for sanctions to be imposed on Israel if it takes action in the West Bank that could make the two-state solution impossible, European diplomatic sources and senior Israeli officials said. (Read the rest of the story here…)
French lawmakers will vote on November 28 on a proposal by the Socialist Party urging the government to recognise Palestine as a state, a parliamentary source said Wednesday. The non-binding but highly symbolic vote would follow a similar vote in the British parliament and after Sweden announced it formally recognised the state of Palestine. A draft of the proposal states that the lower house National Assembly “invites the French government to use the recognition of the state of Palestine as an instrument to gain a definitive resolution of the conflict”.
Israel has recalled its ambassador to Sweden to protest Stockholm’s recognition of a Palestinian state. Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson said Thursday the ambassador was being recalled for consultations, but declined to say how long he would remain in Israel. Hirschson said the move was made “because of the recognition of the Palestinian state.
Even as Jerusalem and Washington locked horns earlier this month in a very public spat over construction in Jerusalem, more than three-fourths of the Jewish-Israeli public is opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state if it means dividing Jerusalem, according to a poll released on Sunday. The poll, sponsored by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and conducted by the Shvakim Panorama research institute, found that 76 percent of the Jewish public opposed a Palestinian state if it meant dividing the capital, indicating that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took no political risks – and indeed reflected a wide consensus opinion – when he publicly sparred with the White House earlier this month over plans to build in Givat Hamatos and allow Jews to move into Silwan. Faced with sharp censure of the move, Netanyahu said that Jerusalem was not a settlement and that not only would Israel continue to build there, but that Jews would be able to buy property throughout the city, just as Arabs are allowed to do.
British lawmakers will next week hold a symbolic parliamentary vote on whether the government should recognize Palestine as a state, a move unlikely to shift official policy but designed to raise the political profile of the issue. Britain does not class it as a state, but says it could do so at any time if it believed it would help the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel. The motion due for debate in Britain’s lower house of parliament on Oct.
Israeli officials on Monday enthusiastically embraced reports that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi recently offered the Palestinians an independent state in the Sinai Peninsula in return for dropping claims to the pre–1967 borders. According to the offer, which was reported by the Arab media and by Israel’s Army Radio, Egypt would give the Palestinians land in the Sinai that would effectively expand the territory of the Gaza Strip fivefold. This “Greater Gaza” would be a fully independent state under the sovereignty of the Palestinian Authority, and would serve as a homeland for all Palestinians “refugees.