Calls grow for EU to consider Palestine statehood


The European Union should recognize a Palestinian state, Luxembourg Foreign Minister said, reiterating his call for the two-state solution to end the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Speaking ahead of the gathering in Brussels for the Foreign Affairs Council Monday, Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn commented on the Israeli pledge to annex the Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank, saying that, “If Israel came to this point, we would experience the same situation as encountered in another country back in 2014,” mentioning Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Netanyahu has repeatedly promised that Jewish West Bank settlements will be “part of the state of Israel” and that none will be evacuated in any kind of agreement with Palestinians. Palestinians say the settlements jeopardize their goal of a state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with east Jerusalem as its capital and that the U.S. move will make an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal even more elusive. With peace efforts stalled and little hope for an independent state anytime soon, Palestinians who remain in the occupied territories are left to endure an uncertain future.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution in 2014 supporting Palestinian statehood in principle. The motion was a compromise reached after lawmakers on the left sought to urge the EU’s 28 member states to recognize Palestine unconditionally. Since the collapse of U.S.-sponsored peace talks in 2014, Israel has pressed on with building settlements in territory that the Palestinians want for their future state. More than 135 countries already recognize a Palestinian state, including several east European countries that did so before they joined the EU.

The international community is determined not to look the other way regarding the issue of Palestine and to bring about the two-state solution, which aims for Israel and Palestine to live next to each other in peace based on 1967 borders. Israel considers Jerusalem to be its eternal, indivisible capital, and Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it in a move that is not recognized internationally.