World Bulletin/News Desk
Israel hopes to foil a bill that will be debated this month at the European Parliament that would formally recognize the state of Palestine, an Israeli diplomat asserted Friday.
Speaking to Israeli radio, Ambassador David Walzer, head of Israel's diplomatic mission to the EU, said he was holding talks with various blocs in the European Parliament before it votes on the bill later this month.
He said his efforts were aimed at ensuring the bill was voted down or at least minimizing the number of its supporters.
Last month, the European Parliament postponed voting on the bill until December 18.
In October, Sweden became the first EU member state to officially recognize Palestine.
Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Greek Cypriot Administration and Malta had all already recognized Palestine before becoming EU members.
Following the Swedish decision, parliaments in the U.K., Ireland, Spain and France all approved non-binding resolutions recognizing Palestine.
Similar parliamentary resolutions are expected to be endorsed by Denmark, Portugal, Italy and Luxemburg in coming weeks.
In late 2012, Palestine was granted non-member observer status at the United Nations.
The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-famous Balfour Declaration, called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."
Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.
Palestinians, for their part, continue to demand the establishment of an independent state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Aralık 2014, 16:42