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France’s Position on Recognizing a Palestinian State

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In a significant divergence from the stance taken by Ireland, Spain, and Norway, France expressed on Wednesday that the conditions were not conducive to officially recognizing a Palestinian state. Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne emphasized that any decision to recognize a Palestinian state must extend beyond symbolic or political posturing to have a tangible impact on the peace process.

The French stance, articulated after discussions in Paris with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, distances the country from its European counterparts. While France has previously acknowledged that recognizing a Palestinian state is not off-limits, it maintains that such recognition should form part of a broader effort to achieve a two-state solution between Palestinians and Israelis.

Despite lobbying efforts by several European countries and some Arab states to garner support for recognizing a Palestinian state, France has underscored that doing so without genuine negotiations would yield limited change on the ground. Sejourne stressed that recognizing a Palestinian state should not be viewed solely as a symbolic issue or a matter of political positioning but rather as a diplomatic tool in the pursuit of two states coexisting peacefully and securely.

French diplomats have asserted that symbolic recognition would hold little value without substantial progress in a political process supported by the United States, Israel’s principal ally. France has been actively drafting a UN Security Council resolution, with plans to present it during the summer. The resolution aims to reintroduce the parameters for negotiations on a two-state solution to the Security Council while also reinforcing a clear condemnation of the Islamist militant group Hamas following the October 7 attack on Israel that triggered the Gaza war. The negotiating process has remained stagnant for the past decade.

The United States has echoed a similar sentiment, emphasizing that the establishment of a Palestinian state should be pursued through diplomatic negotiations rather than unilateral recognition. It is important to note that the US holds veto power at the United Nations, underscoring its influential role in shaping the discourse around recognizing a Palestinian state.

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