Scholar: Europe changing perspective toward Israel

Palestinian scholar and activist says decision of more European countries to recognize Palestine is positive step.

Scholar: Europe changing perspective toward Israel
World Bulletin / News Desk
European countries are changing their attitudes towards Israel as more of them begin to recognize Palestinian statehood and the European Union General Court has ruled the EU should remove Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations.

The British Parliament on Oct. 13 approved a nonbinding resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood by a vote by 274 to 12, joining other European parliaments that have done the same. The resolutions do not mean that those countries officially recognize Palestine; that decision is generally made by the executive branch of government.

In October, Sweden became the first western EU member country to officially recognize Palestine. Other EU countries, from the east and the Mediterranean, had previously given Palestine official recognition.

"The increase in the number of European countries recognizing Palestine as a state is a very important and positive development," Azzam Tanimi, a Palestinian scholar and activist, told The Anadolu Agency.

"This means that more European countries have realized and understood what kind of country Israel is," Tamimi said.

He said Israel’s attacks on Gaza this year had helped other countries understand Israel’s intentions.

"The EU’s second-highest court’s ruling to remove Hamas from its terrorist list is a positive step, but it is also the beginning of a legal battle, which will last long," Tamimi said.

On Wednesday, the EU’s General Court ruled that the EU's decision to list Hamas, which governs Gaza, on the 2001 terrorist list was based not on "acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities, but on factual imputations derived from the press and the Internet."

Despite the ruling, the European Union continues to consider Hamas a terrorist organization, European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic.  

“There is a high possibility that the court’s decision will be appealed,” Tamimi said.

On Dec. 2, the French parliament passed a nonbinding resolution urging the country's government to recognize Palestine. The country's Senate did the same on Dec. 11.  

Germany, however, has not made any steps towards recognizing Palestine as state. Hamas is on the country’s terrorist list and any organizations gathering aid for the group are prohibited.

Italy, like other European countries, supports a two-state solution in the Middle East and has encouraged the recognition of Palestine. The country also voted in favor of Palestine to become a "non-member observer state" in the UN in 2012.

However, the Italian parliament has not yet voted on recognition of the Palestine state.

Greece, like Italy, is among the countries whose parliaments have not voted on the issue of recognizing Palestine.

Marwan Tubasi, Palestine's ambassador to Greece, recently called on the Greek parliament to recognize the Palestine state.

“Israel is trying to divide Muslims and Jews and we want Greece to recognize Palestine as an independent state, as did 135 other countries,” said Tubasi.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Aralık 2014, 16:41