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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Will recognize Palestinian state: French president

Macron's statements appear to be aimed at increasing pressure on Israel to reconsider its stance.

The Palestinian state’s recognition is no longer considered off-limits for France, as President Emmanuel Macron stated on Friday. He hinted that Paris might take this step if efforts toward a two-state solution hit a roadblock due to Israeli opposition. While a unilateral recognition by France wouldn’t substantially alter the situation without genuine negotiations, it would carry significant symbolic and diplomatic weight.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently opposed Palestinian sovereignty, insisting on full Israeli security control in the region west of the Jordan River, which contradicts the idea of a Palestinian state.

In 2014, French lawmakers passed a symbolic resolution urging their government to recognize Palestine, but it had minimal impact on France’s diplomatic stance. Macron’s recent remarks mark the first time a French leader openly suggested such recognition, reflecting growing impatience among Western leaders, particularly in light of escalating casualties in Gaza following Israeli retaliation for an October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas, which resulted in 1,200 deaths and 253 hostages according to Israeli sources.

Speaking alongside Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Paris, Macron emphasized France’s readiness to contribute to efforts for Palestinian statehood, both within Europe and at the Security Council. He framed the recognition as a gesture owed to both Palestinians, whose aspirations have long been disregarded, and Israelis who suffered a significant anti-Semitic attack. Additionally, Macron stressed the importance of stability in a region plagued by chaos and vengeance.

Growing calls for peace 

Macron’s statements appear to be aimed at increasing pressure on Israel to reconsider its stance. The ongoing Israeli offensive in densely populated Gaza has resulted in over 28,000 Palestinian casualties, widespread destruction of infrastructure, and the displacement of most of the territory’s 2.3 million inhabitants.

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While many developing nations have recognized Palestine as a state, most Western European countries, including France, have refrained, arguing that Palestinian statehood should be achieved through negotiations with Israel. British Foreign Secretary David Cameron recently stated that Britain intends to recognize a Palestinian state at the appropriate time, potentially at the United Nations.

Macron warned that an Israeli offensive in Rafah would precipitate an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe and represent a critical juncture in the conflict.