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EU shelves recognition of Palestinian state

EU foreign ministers have said they will recognise Palestine when it is “appropriate”.

Rawabi near the West Bank is billed as a symbol of the future Palestine: a modern, middle-class city of orderly streets, parks and shopping plazas.
Rawabi near the West Bank is billed as a symbol of the future Palestine: a modern, middle-class city of orderly streets, parks and shopping plazas.
Image: Dan Balilty/AP/Press Association Images

EUROPEAN UNION FOREIGN Ministers have said that they will recognise a Palestinian state “when appropriate”.

The statement comes following a call for the EU to recognise Palestine, based on the 1967 borders, from Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, Al Jazeera reports.

Following the Six Day War in 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces then withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

Settlements in the West Bank are seen as illegal under international law, however Israel does not accept this. Continuing settlement construction is a major point of contention in the peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis – and news last week that the United States will no longer push Israel to halt construction cast serious doubt on the chances of such talks continuing.

In a statement, the EU foreign affairs council “reiterates its readiness, when appropriate, to recognise a Palestinian state”. The council also “noted with regret”  that Israel had failed to extend its moratorium on settlement construction during peace talks.

The council added:

Our views on settlements, including in East Jerusalem, are clear: they are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace.

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Recently Argentina and Brazil have joined the growing number of countries to recognise Palestine.

Israel has described such recognitions as “highly regrettable” in the context of the stalled peace talks.

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