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Palestinian FM hails Spain's symbolic recognition of Palestine State

Spain's recognition is 'important and historical resolution,' says foreign ministry

Ahram Online, Wednesday 19 Nov 2014
Spain
An electronic board shows the results of a vote of Spanish lawmakers on the recognition of Palestine as a stateat the Spanish Parliament in Madrid November 18, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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Palestine's foreign ministry on Wednesday welcomed the Spanish parliament's symbolic recognition of a Palestinian state on Tuesday night, Egypt's state-run news agency MENA reported.

Spain's parliament overwhelmingly approved a largely symbolic resolution that recognises a Palestinian state, as 319 voted in favour, with two against and one abstention, AFP reported.

Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Malki said in the statement that the Palestinian Authority hails the Spanish decision and lauds its political parties that helped in approving the "important and historical resolution."

"This recognition is considered as an advanced historical position of Spain in the Spanish-Palestinian bilateral relation," the statement read, adding that it also coincides with Spain's principles and its commitment to international human rights law.

The Palestinian foreign ministry called on the Spanish government to recognise Palestine to help in the success of peaceful negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli sides.

The Spanish parliament's non-obligatory decision is the fourth from a European country, following Sweden, the UK and Irish parliaments' recognitions of a Palestinian state.

Earlier in October Sweden became the first European country to officially announce its recognition of a Palestinian state, a move condemned by Israel and the US.

While a US State Department spokesperson described Sweden's recognition as "premature," Israel summoned the Swedish ambassador over the decision.

Following the Swedish decision, British MPs voted 274 to 12 on 13 October to approve a motion to recognise a Palestinian state. The Israeli embassy in London later issued a statement on its website denouncing the "premature" move.

As a reaction to the Israeli statement, Matthew Gould, the British ambassador to Israel, said in an interview with Israeli Public Radio that the UK Parliament's decision was "affected" by this summer's Israeli assault on Gaza, which left over 2,000 Palestinians dead, as well as the latest announcement of more Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

A continued freeze in the Palestinian-Israeli situation "could have a negative consequence" on the future of UK-Israeli relations, Gould also told the Jerusalem Post.

Tensions between Palestinians and Israelis have been escalating due to Palestinian fears of Israel authorising Jewish prayers inside Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place to Muslims.

On Tuesday, four Israelis were killed inside a synagogue in East Jerusalem by a pair of Palestinian assailants wielding knives and a pistol.

The situation has been underscored by Tel Aviv continuing its settlement plans in the occupied West Bank.

In early November, Israel's interior ministry approved the construction of about 500 new settlements in East Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one month earlier, vowed to build more than 1,000 new settler homes.

The move triggered condemnation from the EU's Foreign Affairs Chief, Federica Mogherini, on the eve of her visit to Israel.

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