The European Union Parliament voted 498 to 88 on Wednesday to recognize Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution. The resolution underlined the EU’s conviction that recognition “should go hand-in-hand with the development of peace talks.” The vote is the largest-scale measure on Palestinian recognition yet, but it is also one of the most amorphous. The resolution expresses support for a Palestinian state to be established through peace talks, which have failed to yield results for two decades.
The EU’s parliamentary recognition is the capstone after a week of intense diplomatic lobbying by the Palestinians. On Wednesday, Switzerland convened the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention for a vote on the conflict. The United States, Canada, Israel, and Australia all abstained, but the resolution condemning Israel’s settlement policies in the West Bank still passed by consensus among 126 of the 196 parties to the convention.
The EU vote also comes on the heels of a series of recent recognition resolutions in parliaments across Europe, starting in the United Kingdom and reaching Ireland, France, Spain, and Portugal within the last few months. The governments of Sweden and Luxembourg have done the same.
The Palestinian diplomatic campaign is far from over. On Wednesday, the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations convened the Group of Arab States—a caucus of Arab nations at the U.N.—to submit its Jordanian-sponsored resolution to the Security Council. The Palestinians initially floated the idea of their own draft resolution to the Security Council in September, which imposed a two-year deadline for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. The newer version, which was submitted last night by the Jordanians and is said to have been influenced by the French, calls for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank by 2017 and the commencement of a new round of negotiations as soon as possible but to only last for 12 months
The trajectory of the Palestinian diplomatic campaign is still unclear. But the fact that Europe has essentially become the voice of Palestinians—coupled with the wave of formal recognition sweeping through European countries and the EU’s parliament—indicates that the Palestinians have diplomatic momentum heading into 2015.
Grant Rumley is a research analyst at Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Find him on Twitter, @Grant_Rumley.