July 8, 2024 | Flash Brief

Victorious Left-Wing Coalition in France Pushes for ‘Immediate Recognition’ of Palestinian State

July 8, 2024 | Flash Brief

Victorious Left-Wing Coalition in France Pushes for ‘Immediate Recognition’ of Palestinian State

Latest Developments

The leader of France’s main far-left party pledged on July 7 to grant “immediate recognition of the State of Palestine” following a powerful showing by a coalition of left-wing organizations in the second and final round of parliamentary elections.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon — leader of La France Insoumise (“France Rising”), the main component of the hastily assembled New Popular Front (NFP), which also includes the Green and Socialist parties and various communist factions — extended the promise after the NFP won 182 of the 577 seats in the French National Assembly. “We will have a prime minister from the New Popular Front,” Mélenchon declared on X. “We will be able to decide many things by decree. On the international level, we will have to agree to recognize the State of Palestine.” His party’s platform also included fulsome support for attempts by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue arrest warrants for ministers in what it called “[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s supremacist government” as well as an embargo on arms sales to the Jewish state.

French unilateral recognition of an independent Palestinian state would continue a recent Europe-wide trend of formally acknowledging a sovereign Palestinian entity outside of a negotiating process involving Israel. In separate announcements at the end of May and the beginning of June, EU member states Spain, Ireland, and Slovenia, as well as non-EU member Norway, all confirmed their diplomatic recognition of a Palestinian state. France’s most recent government was opposed to the move, with Foreign Minister Stephane Séjourné saying on May 22 that while recognition was not a “taboo,” the current timing was “not right.” “The logic is that the peace process leads to the state recognition … not that recognition is a diplomatic end in itself,” Séjourné said.

Expert Analysis

“Mélenchon and his party are doctrinaire anti-Zionists who depict Israeli leaders as war criminals while embracing the eliminationist rhetoric of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups. So far, the main impact of this dangerous rhetoric has been felt not by Israel itself, but by France’s Jewish community — the largest in Western Europe — which is now asking itself whether it has a future in a country polarized by the extremes of left and right.” — Ben CohenFDD Senior Analyst and Rapid Response Manager

“France is heading down a dangerous path with the head of the leading party calling to unilaterally recognize the ‘State of Palestine.’ This would only make the establishment of a Palestinian state less likely; paper gains will reinforce the Palestinian strategy of seeking international recognition rather than negotiating with the Israelis.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

French Election Fails to Produce Governing Mandate for Any Party

Mélenchon’s demand for immediate recognition of a Palestinian state will likely be tempered by the outcome of the election, in which no party achieved the 289 parliamentary seats necessary to form a government. While the NPF coalition won a plurality of seats, the far-right National Rally (RN), which had been widely predicted to win outright, still emerged as the biggest single party with 143 seats, and the centrist Ensemble coalition affiliated with President Emmanuel Macron won 168 seats. “France is faced with a political landscape that is without precedent since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958,” broadcaster France 24 observed.

“European Union Foreign Ministers Threaten Israel With Prospect of Sanctions,” FDD Flash Brief

“Spain, Ireland Lead Push in EU to Unilaterally Recognize Palestinian State,” FDD Flash Brief

“A Rape in Paris,” by Ben Cohen

Issues:

Israel Palestinian Politics