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Video: Europe is Palestinians ‘only hope for a two-state solution’

Mohammed Abed, AFP | Archival image shows young men waving a Palestinian flag in the streets of Gaza

France’s parliament on Tuesday was voting on a controversial bill to recognise Palestinian statehood. FRANCE 24 asked John Whitbeck, a lawyer and former advisor to the Palestinian negotiators, to explain the significance of the legislative move.

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The vote in France’s National Assembly follows similar non-binding resolutions urging governments to recognise Palestine as a state by British and Spanish lawmakers in recent months. Sweden went a step further on October 30 by formally recognising Palestinian sovereignty.

Whitbeck, a Paris-based international lawyer, said legislative action in Europe was one of the few ways to put pressure on Israel to move peace negotiations forward.

“Europe has been for some time the only hope for actually achieving a two-state solution,” Whitbeck said. “For Israelis the status quo has always been the best of all possible worlds, preferable to any conceivable alternative. They’ve had no genuine incentive to approach negotiations with the intention and desire to reach an agreement.”

However, Whitaker claimed that a string of non-binding resolutions with no formal recognition of Palestinian statehood by European governments was also a danger to Middle East peace.

“If European governments prefer to ignore the clear will of their peoples... and prioritise the wishes of the American and Israeli governments then the last hope of the Palestinian people for ending the occupation and obtaining their freedom by non-violent means will have been extinguished,” he added.

To watch FRANCE 24’s full interview with John Whitbeck click on the player above.

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