French vote urges recognition of Palestinian state

France’s lower house of Parliament voted Tuesday to urge the government to recognize a Palestinian state, in the hope that it would speed up peace efforts after decades of conflict. The 339-151 vote is non-binding, but it’s a symbolic boost for the Palestinians. The measure asks the government “to recognize the state of Palestine in view of reaching a definitive settlement to the conflict.” France is home to both the largest Jewish and the largest Muslim communities in Europe, and balancing the interests and tensions between them is a sensitive affair.¬†Israel is committed to establishing a Palestinian state under a peace agreement, but says such resolutions encourage the Palestinians to avoid negotiations.

We believe that such a decision will only radicalize the positions of the Palestinians and will send the wrong message to the leaders and people in this region.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon

The vote is a clear signal of support for a two-state solution, and illustrates the frustration across Europe over failure to reach a deal. But the non-binding vote did not pass as handily as it did in Britain, where legislators in the House of Commons voted 274 to 12. In Spain a similar vote was nearly unanimous last month. In Ireland a motion was unanimously supported.