INTERNATIONAL

Israel criticizes Congress vote in favor of recognizing Palestinian state

Declaration “pushes away further chances of reaching an agreement,” says statement

Palestinian representative in Spain, Musa Amer Odeh (c), was present during Tuesday’s vote in Congress.
Palestinian representative in Spain, Musa Amer Odeh (c), was present during Tuesday’s vote in Congress.ULY MARTIN

Less than 24 hours after Spain’s lower house overwhelmingly voted in favor of a non-binding proposition urging the government to recognize Palestine as an independent state, Israel has expressed its opposition to the move. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday released a statement saying that “the Spanish parliament’s declaration only pushes away further the chances of reaching an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians because it encourages the Palestinians to take extreme positions.” The Palestine Authority, for its part, has celebrated the support received from Spain’s Congress.

“It would have been better had the Spanish parliament seen fit to denounce the abominable massacre in a Jerusalem synagogue carried out by Palestinians who were incited,” the brief statement concluded, in reference to an attack carried out at a synagogue in Jerusalem by two Palestinians on Tuesday, in which the perpetrators and five Israelis died.

Practically all of the Spanish parties who spoke in the debate prior to the vote on Tuesday – who did indeed condemn the attack in their speeches – agreed to the proposal as a safeguard for the two-state solution, and highlighted that the Spanish government’s recognition “should be the consequence” of a process of negotiation between the two sides that guarantees peace, security, respect of the rights of citizens and regional stability.

While the proposal is non-binding, it carries great political weight – so much so that ambassadors from several Arab countries attended Tuesday’s vote in Madrid, as well as a representative from the Palestine Authority – and comes on the back of similar recent votes in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

For its part, the Palestine Authority applauded the news and stated that it was “an important step,” according to its spokesperson Ihab Basaiso, who went on to say that the decision “is an indicator of how the international community is taking the challenge of a solution to the Palestinian conflict seriously.”

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