The European Union (EU) was yesterday urged by Luxembourg to recognise a Palestinian state in response to the United States’ policy shift on Israeli settlements, reported Reuters.
“Recognising Palestine as a state would be neither a favour nor a carte blanche but rather a mere recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to its own state,” Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told Reuters.
“It would not be meant against Israel,” he added, but rather a step intended to help pave the way to a two-state solution.
On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that the Trump administration does not view Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory as “inconsistent with international law”.
Since 1967, the international consensus – as affirmed in United Nations Security Council resolutions and fora such as the International Court of Justice – has been that Israel’s settlements are illegal.
There are now more than 200 settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, divided roughly evenly between so-called “official”, Israeli government-approved settlements, and “outposts”.
The US shift represents a success for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose party Likud opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state and enthusiastically backs the settlement project.
Immediately after Pompeo’s statement, the EU affirmed that it continues to believe that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.
Reuters noted that in 2014, the European Parliament adopted a resolution “supporting Palestinian statehood in principle”, a “compromise” motion “reached after lawmakers on the left sought to urge the EU’s 28 member states to recognise Palestine unconditionally”.