Recognising the Palestinian state
French lawmakers voting to recognise the state of Palestine is more than a symbolic move as it comes at a time that the Palestinians are pushing their case at the United Nations.
The Palestinian Authority estimates that 135 countries around the world have now recognised Palestine as a state, although that number is disputed.
The last to do so was Sweden, which made the move on October 30, to Israel's ire.
Apart from the Scandinavian kingdom, eight members of the European Union -- the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta and Cyprus had already recognised Palestine before their entry into the bloc.
But within the European Union no heavyweight has yet made the move.
Before French lawmakers, the British parliament voted on October 13 for recognition, but the vote was not binding.
Then, on November 18, the Spanish lower house also adopted by an overwhelming majority a motion calling on the Spanish government to recognise the Palestinian state.
The initiatives form part of a trend in Europe towards recognition, up to then seen as the goal of negotiations, but now seen as a means of exerting pressure on Israel to relaunch the moribund peace process.
The Palestinians, who since 2012 have observer status at the United Nations, are currently carrying out a vast international campaign and want to submit to the UN Security Council a text demanding the end of the Israeli occupation in November 2016.
In 2011 the Palestinians were admitted as a member state of UNESCO, pushing the United States to suspend its payments to the international organisation.
© 2014 AFP