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153 French lawmakers call on Hollande to officially recognize Palestinian state

Feb. 26, 2017 10:47 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 27, 2017 10:26 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- More than 150 French parliamentarians signed a letter calling on French President Francois Hollande to officially recognize a state of Palestine, French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche reported on Sunday.

The 153 signatories hailed an international conference held by France last month as “an occasion to solemnly reaffirm the international community’s attachment to the two-state solution.”

However, they expressed serious concerns regarding the staunchly pro-Israel stance of new US President Donald Trump -- particularly regarding his campaign promise to move the US embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem -- as well as Israel’s recently passed Regularization law, which grants official governmental recognition to a number of illegal settlement outposts in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The lawmakers asked Hollande to recognize a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution before the end of his presidency in May -- as right and far-right presidential candidates were projected to score a significant number of votes, potentially jeopardizing France’s recent efforts to push for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“In this context, France cannot stay silent,” the letter read, reminding Hollande that the French National Assembly and Senate had adopted two resolutions calling for French recognition of a state of Palestine in 2014.

“You have said so yourself, Mr. President, ‘only bilateral negotiations can succeed.’ It is now time for these negotiations to take place on an equal footing, state to state,” the parliamentarians added.

“France must mark its willingness to break the deadlock in this conflict by solemnly reaffirming, in the name of the inalienable right to self-determination, that the Palestinian people are founded in (their demand to) obtain a state,” the letter read. “Respect of international law and of Israel’s security are at stake.”

“France cannot advocate in its official statements for a two-state solution and only recognize one. Our deeds must now follow our words.”

While members of the international community have rested the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the discontinuation of illegal Israeli settlements and the establishment of a two-state solution, Israeli leaders have instead shifted further to the right, with more than 50 percent of the ministers in the current Israeli government publicly stating their opposition to a Palestinian state.

A number of Palestinian activists have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace given the existing political context, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.
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