The 150-member House of Representatives, Belgium’s lower chamber of Parliament, is to debate on Thursday a resolution urging the federal government to ‘’ formally recognize the State of Palestine.’’
The resolution was initiated by the Socialist, Green and extreme-left parties.
The resolution, said Socialist MP Malik Ban Achour, who authored it, urges the federal government “to formally recognize the State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel and to consider this recognition as a contribution by Belgium to the solution based on the coexistence of two democratic and independent states having the right to live in peace and security with mutually recognized, accepted and respected borders. ”
It was first adopted in the foreign affairs committee two weeks ago by a short majority of 8 against 7 votes. The liberals, Flemish Christian Democrats, Flemish nationalist NV-A and the extreme right Vlaams Belang opposed the motion.
Israel’s ambassador to Belgium, Emmanuel Nahshon said the call to recognize a Palestinian state ‘’is not a useful step. ’’The only way to achieve the creation of a Palestinian state is through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Not only it does help nothing on the ground but in addition it risks creating among the Palestinians an illusory feeling of being able to obtain by means of international recognition what they cannot or do not want to obtain by negotiation,” he said.
He admitted that such a step would ‘’complicate’’ relations between Israel and Belgium.
Other EU member states, such as Ireland, Spain and Luxembourg, have hinted the possibility of such a recognition if the annexation plan goes forward.
Sweden is the sole EU member state to have recognize a ‘’State of Palestine’’, in 2014. Some argue that Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, also made such a recognition but this was during the Communist regime in these countries.
The Belgian House of Representatives will also debate a second resolution calling for the government to prepare a list of ‘’counter-measures’’ to be implemented if the Israeli annexation plan goes ahead on Juy 1.
In a letter to the members of the Belgian Parliament ahead of Thursday’s debates and votes, the Belgian Friends of Israel organization denounced the fact that ‘’some of our elected representatives choose once again to ignore the Palestinian behavior without ever missing an opportunity to demonize Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.’’
The letter reads: ‘’The Palestinian Authority continues to reward relatives of suicide bombers and other murderers of Jewish civilians with “pensions”. However, the Belgian Parliament continues to dogmatically refrain from any criticism of these Palestinian practices. The debates will focus on resolutions which not only usually and ideologically polarize a complex situation, but which also use misleading terms.’’