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France's National Asembly. (Photo: Agu V./flickr/cc)

French Lawmakers Vote to Recognize Palestine

Move follows similar votes in the UK, Spain, Ireland

Andrea Germanos

French lawmakers on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted to recognize Palestine.

The non-binding resolution was approved by the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, 339 to 151.

The "resolution is concerned with reinforcing our country's diplomatic action, prevailing over hate speech everywhere and contributing to the establishment of peace in the Middle East," the text reads.

"The recognition of the Palestinian state must be accompanied by a beneficial and immediate return toward negotiation," it states.

Reporting by Agence France-Presse adds:

France is spearheading a drive at the United Nations to unfreeze the moribund peace process and the Palestinian envoy to the U.N. said earlier Tuesday a draft resolution could be submitted to the Security Council by mid-December.

Reuters adds:

"We don't want a symbolic recognition that will only lead to a virtual state," Europe Minister Harlem Desir told lawmakers in reaction to the vote. "We want a Palestinian state that is real so we want to give a chance to negotiations."

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously said France's recognition of Palestine would be a "grave mistake," and Israel's ambassador to France, Yossi Gal, told the Associated Press last week regarding France's vote: "I really hope that everybody will come back to their senses and see how bad this resolution is for everybody concerned."

In addition to following Sweden's official recognition of Palestinian statehood this year, France's measure comes after a flurry of similar symbolic votes in the UK, Spain and Ireland.

Noted scholar Noam Chomsky has said that these recent votes in Europe add pressure to resolving the conflict and show that these populations "want to distance themselves from the actions that Israel is taking, which are very explicitly criminal actions."

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