Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said his country and other European Union member states would recognise the state of Palestine if France leads the way.
In an interview with the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, Asselborn said the EU was divided on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, which makes it impossible to lead an active Middle Eastern policy.
“We Europeans must show that Palestinians also have a right to their own state,” he said in the article published on January 17. “If France would lead the way by recognising Palestine, other countries would follow, including Luxembourg.”
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia are also reportedly ready to recognise the Palestinian National Authority as a full-fledged national government.
The 28-nation European bloc already has several members who consider Palestine to be a state. Most of them, such as the Czech Republic, Poland, and Romania, took the step during the Cold War – long before joining the EU.
In 2014, however, Sweden became the first Western European country to recognise Palestine.
According to DW, European countries have been under strong pressure from the United States since President Donald Trump in December announced the US embassy in Israel would relocate to Jerusalem. The move represents a strong signal to Israel’s position that the divided city of Jerusalem (and not Tel Aviv) is the capital of the Jewish state. However, Palestinians also view East Jerusalem as their capital.
According to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, the US policy shift has triggered an outcry in the Arab and Muslim world and a wave of protests in the Palestinian lands, which left at least 16 people dead.
What is more, the US announced on January 16 that it would suspend the $65m aid to the Palestinians that it had planned to deliver.