What the recognition of Palestine by European countries really means

by

Israel is facing a deluge of international criticism because of its policies regarding the peace process. The increase in settlement building on Palestinian lands doesn’t help either. As it stands, Israel will only continue to isolate itself as international criticism increases.

Many European countries have recently recognised the state of Palestine, including the United Kingdom, France, Sweden and Spain. Belgium and Portugal may be following suit sooner than later.

These countries’ recognition of the state of Palestine may seem symbolic, especially since it has yet to be followed by policies which could threaten economic or cultural sanctions on Israel. However, vague as it may be, this recognition is an indication that these European countries are fed up with Israel and its practices – like settlement building and procedures in Al-Aqsa Mosque – that unavoidably lead the peace process into a deadlock.

The recognition of Palestine by European countries is a warning sign to Israel, demanding that it changes its policies before more drastic measures are taken.

These countries could be serious about taking the situation to the next level, because after all, these European countries have their parliaments decided to recognise Palestine. In this sense, they are responsible to the people of their countries for the decisions they make and, as such, they must answer their demands.

The recognition of Palestine by these countries is a message that seems to be directed not solely to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but rather to Israel’s public, especially given the decision to hold early parliamentary elections after the collapse of the ruling coalition.

The message is: choose wisely, before it’s too late. You have to elect those who will opt for the two-state solution and reopen the path for the peace process. Europe and the world can no longer tolerate providing an international cover for Israel’s practices against the Palestinians.

The message addressed to Israel’s public is of the utmost importance especially in light of the recent surge in right-wing sentiments and the loss of faith in the importance of the peace process.

It also seems like the Israelis don’t believe that Netanyahu, the Likud Party and right-wing groups can win the elections again. However, all options remain open at the moment and only time will tell.