UPDATE 13/10/2015: Four Israelis and 17 Palestinians have been killed this month, with more than 30 Israelis and over 1,300 Palestinians injured amid a spate of stabbings and clashes with police. The clashes were initially sparked by rumours that the long-standing arrangement governing Palestinian access to the Temple Mount (and the al-Aqsa mosque) were about to be changed – something tremendously denied by the Israeli government.

However, the underlying cause of the violence is likely to be frustration at the slow pace of the peace process; US-sponsored peace talks collapsed in April 2014 and have yet to be revived. Some commentators worry that the current bout of violence could derail the peace process entirely, possibly even leading to a third intifada (‘uprising’).

The issue of Israeli settlements has been a high-profile sticking point in negotiations; the European Union is currently discussing plans to label goods imported from Israeli settlements, a move the Israeli governments believes will amount to a ‘soft boycott’. But is there anything else the EU can do to de-escalate the current situation and bring all sides back to the negotiating table? Should there be an EU-led peace initiative over Israel-Palestine?

PUBLISHED 02/06/2015: In 2014, Sweden became the first EU Member State to recognise the State of Palestine. The Swedish government hopes that its decision will help “facilitate a peace agreement by making the parties less unequal”. However, critics argue that it is premature to recognise Palestine until more progress has been made in the peace process, including formal recognition of the right of Israel to exist and a renunciation of terrorism.

In December 2014, the European Parliament passed a symbolic vote that supported “in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two state solution”. Parliamentarians in the United Kingdom, France and Ireland joined them when they voted in favour of motions advising their respective governments to join Sweden in recognising the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.

Should more European countries follow these examples? Should the EU itself formally recognise Palestine? We had a comment sent in by Les, saying he believes: “Palestine should be a state recognised by the EU, their suffering has gone on far too long.”

We spoke to Afzal Khan, a British Labour MEP and Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence in the European Parliament. He agreed that it was time the world got together and resolved this issue, which has been dragging on for 70 years now.

To get another perspective, we also spoke to Yossi Lempkowicz, Managing Director and Chief Editor of the European Jewish Press. How would he respond?

yossiWell, I think the move by Sweden and several parliaments in Europe was wrong. I think that giving the Palestinians the right to declare their own state without any prior negotiations was a mistake. They shouldn’t have given the Palestinians what they asked for without also getting something in return.

I think peace requires two sides, and you need two to tango. So, I think that the Swedish move was wrong, and I think that the only way to make peace is through negotiating with the Israeli government in direct talks, face-to-face, and not through unilateral moves like the Palestinians have made by asking for recognition at the UN or other international organisations.

Should more EU members recognise Palestinian statehood? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Looking4Poetry

156 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Toni Muñiz

    No. Until peace is achieved and they recognize Israel as a state. Which they dont, why should anyone recognize them as a state?

    • avatar
      Lounes Rebaine

      it looks easy how you say it, but this is real life with real facts, it is an emergency to recognize Palestine as long as it still exist, Israelis colonies are growing day after day, and where are these colonies built ? on Palestinian territories, you have to admit that the victims in the story are the Palestinians, not the Israelis, with all due respect, put yourself in their place (I don’t know where you’re from) but imagine your country is colonized by a (neighbor) country and whenever you try to protect your rights and your nation, you, your house, your wife, your mother, your children… are bombed and killed. but is seems ok for the rest of the planet.. because the planet prefers the country that is colonizing yours.
      (knowing that the Israelis ignored so many UN resolutions, and you can check it by yourself).
      diplomacy did not work, war did not work, american mediation made things way worst…
      the world needs to do the right thing, and the right thing to do is recognized this marginalized state, no matter confessions or ideologies, they are as human as we are… they have the right to have a state, and the right to have a Life like you & me.

    • avatar
      rene olivares

      wow !! your are so brilliant Toni Muniz..For example if your father had not recognized you , you would not exist ? Assuming your mother recognized you.
      so in order to exist palestine is necesary Israel’s recognition? So, Israel is the authority to approve which country should exist and which should not?

  2. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    We should not recognise the EU as we have not been asked if we want to be in it.

  3. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    They also have the right to have their state, just like Israel. So all EU should recognize both countries with same rights!

  4. avatar
    Ulf Skei

    If EU and the USA kept away from Africa and the Middle East and just let them sort out their own business, just keep them away from here, and maybe we could all just have a cup of coffee and some rest in a comfy chair. But I guess that’s too much to ask for…

  5. avatar
    Malik Sajjad

    Its a legal right of Palestine. People
    And it is a good message to Muslims world from European countries

  6. avatar
    Jaume Roqueta

    well.. he should give to the Israelian passport the same credibility as the palestinina one… if they dont let the palestinians to return to their land… we should not let the israelians to come to europe… but of course, european politicians are the dogs of israelian politician.. i dont expect to see this.

  7. avatar
    catherine benning

    Historically Palestine was a state in its own right although under British control. Why would it now have to be begging to be recognised by the world? Could it be because they were pushed out of their homeland by the overthrow from Israel who did terrorise them into a small corner of their own lands. This is a ridiculous question. What are these people of Gaza supposed to do. Become extinct for Israeli comfort?

    And why the Americans are so involved in all of this is, their tax payers have invested so many billions of dollars in this little piece of land they have virtually impoverished their own working class for it. Along with their military costs that is. And it still goes on today. How much of our British and European aid money, as well as the US fortune they receive, goes to uphold this Zionist state to the exclusion of all others? Anyone want to take a guess?

    And as a little bit of information, the Jewish populations of the US is

    And the British Jewish population is very small indeed:

    Not easy to find the funds given by the European Union, this was all I could muster. They refuse to give the people who pay their bills the information on what they do with their money. Funny that, in a ‘democracy.’

    So, the welfare fund to Israel is enormous. Yet the people of Gaza are being slaughtered daily with our tax payers money.

    • avatar
      Lounes Rebaine

      Rationally, you are saying this for real ?.
      dear, Israel itself needs Palestine as neighbor to live.
      can you check the map of the middle-east ? now look where is the Hebrew state ? now look to its neighbors from the north, then the east, the the south, would you say they look more like Palestinians, or more like Israelis ?
      that’s why, for your wish to be true, Israel should and must make the Palestinian statehood a priority, and once the state of Palestine is created make it the closest Allie possible, and help it to build itself. it is the only way to make your wish be possible.
      you may have not notice, but Arab states issues with Israel are not football issues, but invasion issues, Palestine was a nation long time before Israel was imported and created. Palestine was a nations for all Christians, Jews and Muslims in harmony.

      so now Think about it, Israel be a close Allie to the official and prosper state of Palestine, it means all issues between the Hebrew state in the region are resolved (except with Iran, Iran is another topic) because are nations are hostile to Israel because of its invasion on Palestine, and by compassion with Palestine.

      all this to say, your sentence can not be realistic, because a (No) can not provide a (long live to Israel)..

      and I am not even talking about how Islamophobic your statement can be understood, or racist.

  8. avatar
    Miguel Bigotte Mota

    Undoubtedly. And stop supporting the US as a peace brokerer, it has been shown countless times they are incapable of holding such a role.

  9. avatar
    Nikolaos Sotirelis

    Why on earth, Israel is a recognized State and Palestine isn’t?
    Are they the children of a lesser God???
    Put an end to this awful injustice!!!

  10. avatar
    Curro Fbm

    No. Israel might be reunificacated, and the civil rights of all its citizens equally protected. That would be the best fate for all the people there except for the elites of Hamas, Al Fatah, and the Zionists, that want to have their separate kingdoms to rule. All what is going on is a nightmare for the ordinary folks. Especially, but not exclusively, for the people who live in Cisjordania and Gaza. The “two states solution” is not a solution at all.

    • avatar
      Lounes Rebaine

      I might not understand very well, did you just say that Israel must continue its invasion (and you call this, reunification) on all the Palestinian lands ? so for you the solution is to erase the Palestinians from the map, and create Israel in the middle of the arab world.. ?

  11. avatar

    No. Israel might be reunificacated, and the civil rights of all its citizens equally protected. That would be the best fate for all the people there except for the elites of Hamas, Al Fatah, and the Zionists, that want to have their separate kingdoms to rule. All what is going on is a nightmare for the ordinary folks. Especially, but not exclusively, for the people who live in Cisjordania and Gaza. The “two states solution” is not a solution at all.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @currofbm and spaniard fbm:

      Two identical posts from two different names. Smells of poll rigging to me.

      Perhaps the best answer to this dilemma is, some kind of referendum that protects the people with fully secret votes. That way they would be free to respond without any repugnant leaders threatening them in any way.

  12. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Yes…. Only by giving them state recognition and allowing them to prosper the issue will be resolved. The more we keep them isolated the easiest is for their youth to be radicalised. If they had prospects for education and wealth the last thing they would want would be to fire rockets. Now they got simply nothing to lose!!

  13. avatar
    Gonzalo FS

    No. With those terrorists ruling the country that couldnt would lead to someth like syria or irak…

  14. avatar
    Valentin Valentin

    NO… ABSOLUTELY NOT AT ALL…”Palestinians” are Egyptians and Syrians refugees… Palestine and the Land of Israel belong from more than 4000 years to ISRAEL, History confirms that… ALL THE TERRITORY BELONGS TO THE ISRAELIS.

    • avatar
      Maia Alexandrova

      Ancient history is not part of international law. You cannot claim legal ownership of land based on historical records from 4000 years ago. If the Jews wanted so much to live there, they shouldn’t have left the land in the first place but fought for it during those 4000 years. You can’t fall asleep for a few thousand years, then wake up and expect everything to be the same as before. They have to recognise the changes that have happened and accept that there are new people living in the region who also have the right to be there. Arabs have lived in Palestine since 7th century and have not left, so any newcomer should recognise their authority first.

  15. avatar
    Glenn Zasman

    No. It’s got to be a bi-laterally negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. Furthermore, these parliamentary resolutions serve no real purpose apart from being an attempt to garner votes from the Muslim electorate. Benot Hamon, Socialist MP in France, said himself that the French parliamentary vote in favour of Palestine was a good electoral strategy to obtain more votes from the “banlieus” (largely Muslim districts in France’s big cities). That’s irresponsible, to say the least. And at the end of the day, France still got the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Baroness Deech made some pertinent points in the House of Lords recently. I think more European countries should follow her line of thinking. Listen to what she had to say here:

  16. avatar
    Christiane Vermoortel

    Of course they should and the EU should as a whole recognize Palestine, what a silly question. And while we’re at it, why has Isral all the benefits of a EU member State without having to fulfil the obligations of a member State ?

  17. avatar
    Fernando De Rojas Parets

    YES of course. If european people were asked maybe the Israelian State would be the one not recognized. Anyway the support to a Palestinian State is a question of moral and historical duty, and would help for justice, humanity and balance.

  18. avatar
    La Fed Ham

    Recognise a Palestinian state in Israel and open a can of worms. They’ll want a state in Germany, in France, in the UK and did i forget to mention those ISIS nutters trying to tear the M.E. To pieces. And there’s actually people out there trying to bash the one true functioning democracy in the Mid East where women have rights and where any “decent” citizen can make it and where the state is run be a government actually elected by the people!!! Cuckoo!!! *spins index finger around his ear*

  19. avatar
    Jovan Ivosevic

    The EU needs to be a constructive partner on finding a peace settlement. Palestinian statehood should be recognized when there is a deal in place.

    It’s sad people don’t know history and have strong opinions on this very complex subject. The Palestinians in 1948 were given a state that would be twice the size of Israel and with shared control over jerusalem. They turned it down. In 2000, Ehud Barak offered a Palestinian state in east jerusalem and 90% of the west bank and not only did the Palestinian leadership say no, but they thought it wasn’t even a good basis to keep negotiating. Only now do we have some semblance of a leadership in Mahmoud Abbas that he wants peace genuinely but Hamas looms out there as a force that is willing to fight on. I am critical of Israeli settlements as I am critical of Hamas constant rocket attacks to provoke a military response. So when there is a two state solution in place, then Palestine should be recognized. To do it now only serves to bolster the more dominant Hamas.

  20. avatar
    Victor Sorin Popaliciu

    yes. Becose if Palestine-Gaza will be a state if some political leader from Israel decides to act like some bulie with a lack of wisdom and faith this bullie can not invade anodher state and also the radical Hamas extremists if they decide to act like some bullies with a lack of faith and wisdom they will not be able to shoot some rokets into the innocents from Israel becose this will be an act of was so both side will have to use the faith in God and the wisdom from God and live in Peace &Harmony developing their countries ,planting trees fruits trees instead of invasions and rokets atacks.

  21. avatar
    Lada Crnobori

    What more European countries should do instead is curb anti-Semitic attacks and stop the spread of radical Islam.

  22. avatar
    Manuel Kahana

    No, because at the moment it seems to me the premise of it is not “two states living side by side in peace” but more like turning the middle east into a “Judenfrei” area.

  23. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    yes freedom Democracy to Palestine

  24. avatar
    Ivan Drvarič

    Stupid question. Seems the initiator of the question does not understand the basics of human dignity for taking the responsibility for their life and the need of the globe to establish homeostasis/harmony not in near future but the processes are too slow and this perversive questions and sterility of EU bureaucracy are producing more debts than opportunities for harmony and consolidation. It should be already established yesterday and Europe the first one to support it with all credibility.

  25. avatar

    Palestine and Israel have been unable to broker a peace deal between them for how many years ? They obviously need help to get over their hate for each other . Maybe we could all agree to recognise Palestine as a state under the condition they sit down and thrash out an agreement for lasting peace . And in the meantime the EU can stop the illegal building of dwellings on Israel’s territory

    Any recognition of Palestine must come with recognition of Israel’s right to exist in return

  26. avatar
    Julio Guerreiro

    But of course YES.. that would stop the blood shed, as none are above each other but simply equal.

  27. avatar
    laura mirachian

    not only they should recognise but EU should take a fresh initiative for peace talks once the new Israeli government will be in place!

  28. avatar

    Yes, yes, yes, YES, already!!!

  29. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Yes…. Keeping it as a ghetto only increases radicals and this situation will never end.. It is not to piss Israel off, rather to stop the killings of both sides in the area!

  30. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    No. I was a solid supporter of palestinian independence in the Arafat days (before the Arafat days); no, I recognize Palestine as a «failed state»: too mafious, too terrorist, unserious.

  31. avatar
    Kossack Nikko

    Lets get something straight here who is the EU does not represent me. If my country wants to recognise any country they should be able to do so without asking the EU and iys degenerate system. The EU if full of self serving opinionated ego centric morons. They only represent themselves.

  32. avatar
    manos flitzanis

    Both Israel and Pallestine people are ancient inhabitans of these lands so both have the right of their own state….that simple…yes

  33. avatar
    Theodoros Kondakos

    Of course. I don’t see a reason why it should not be recognised. Recognization will help these people to become normal and its going to stop the war

  34. avatar
    Andrian Marinov

    Why should the EU care ? Let’s first fix the problems we got inside our Union and then talk about countries outside it..

  35. avatar
    Filipe Oliveira

    It doesn’t matter what europeans think. Just do what frau merkel tells you and everything will be all right.

  36. avatar
    Toni Muñiz

    NO. How can we recognize someone whose only objective is the destruction of another state, Israel. Do we support terrorism? If they can’t find peace themselves, we shouldn’t recognize them.

  37. avatar
    Cliff Hezlewood

    Historically Palestine has more right to exist than Israel, although I would be happy to see them exist peacefully side by side!

  38. avatar
    Ariste Arvanitides

    The Palestinians had their land stolen from under them, and now they need to justify being recognized as a STATE!?!?! People, get real… Palestine has been palestine since forever

  39. avatar
    A.c. Spyred

    Yes of course. As long it won’t be, Israel will keep ignoring Palestinian rights, increasing their frustration which will grow the power of violent groups such as the hamas. In this case peace will never come.

  40. avatar
    Akos Tarkanyi

    There is no palestinian language thus there is no Palestinian people. There is no Palestnian people (this is just a notion invented by Yasser Arafat in 1964) thus there is no any legal, moral or poitical basis to recognise a state for a non-existing people. Especially when two actively and openly terrorist organizations, Fatah and Hamas – on of them, Hamas islamist – represents them. So no – not sooner than EU countries legalize islamist terrorist organizations within their own borders.

  41. avatar
    Moshe Dayan

    Palestinians waited and waited for more than 60 years to be recognized as an independent sovereign nation-state. How much more they must wait in the concentration camps that Israel has put them in? No need to negotiate with a treacherous and duplicious bunch of Zionists.

  42. avatar
    Liam Griffin

    The failure of Camp David shows that unless there is an Arab initiative then basically you are wasting your time.

  43. avatar
    Igor Karlić

    First step to peace would be stop providing any money and material to Western bank because material is used for building tunnels and to build rocket ramps in schools, kindergartens, hospitals and other civilian structures.

  44. avatar
    Alex Bell

    Just send the immigrants out of Europe. A europe full of problems cannot deal with problems of others

  45. avatar
    Ulf Skei

    I don’t think there is any point to be involved. We have enough issues on the table.

  46. avatar
    Ben Westhof

    Basically you are asking: “Should there be an EU-led peace initiative over a non-EU conflict?”. Simple answer: no.

  47. avatar
    Toni Muñiz

    Yes the EU can do something. Stop financing palestine. The leaders have pockets lined with €, our taxed €, so they can keep spewing their hate. When someones only goal is to end Israel, as they clearly state, how can you sit down and negotiate anything? And lets not make the mistakes the USA has done, keep our noses to ourselves. Stop intervening in others problems. We have plenty to sort out in our own home.

  48. avatar

    i think sweden had made a pisitive move…….. i hope that the EU will soon recognize palestine by seeing theur sufferings

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