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Israel: Spanish vote on Palestine unhelpful

November 19, 2014

Israel has criticized a Spanish parliamentary vote urging the government to recognize a Palestinian state. The Foreign Ministry said it "only distances the chance of reaching an agreement" on a two-state solution.

Spanisches Parlament stimmt über Anerkennung Palästinas als Staat ab
Image: Reuters/S. Vera

Israel's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday decried the Spanish parliament's overwhelming vote in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state, which came hours after a deadly attack in a Jerusalem synagogue.

"The declaration of the Spanish parliament only distances the chance of reaching an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians because it encourages the Palestinians to become more extreme in their positions," the Foreign Ministry statement said.

The overwhelming but symbolic Spanish vote - 319 in favor, two against, one abstention - appealed to the government in Madrid to recognize Palestine in conjunction with any similar move from the European Union. French parliamentarians will also vote on the matter on November 28; Sweden formally recognized Palestine last month.

Hours before the vote, two Palestinians staged a lethal attack in a Jerusalem synagogue, killing four rabbis and a policeman.

"It would have been better if the Spanish parliament had instead chosen to do the right thing by condemning the abominable slaughter carried out by inflamed Palestinians in a synagogue in Jerusalem," the Foreign Ministry said.

Anschlag auf eine Synagoge in Jerusalem 18.11.2014
Tuesday's attack was one of several with apparent religious motivation in Jerusalem this yearImage: Reuters/A. Awad

Flashpoint Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said late on Tuesday that some countries were guilty of ignoring the bloodshed in the region and were instead seeking to reward the Palestinians, in reference to the vote in Spain.

"Unfortunately, there are some who are trying even now to give the Palestinians a prize ... of a Palestinian state which doesn't even recognize the Jewish state," he said. "We won't put up with this."

The Middle East peace process has faltered somewhat this year. The latest US-brokered talks toward a two-state solution failed, followed by the 50-day Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip during July and August.

Tuesday's attack in Jerusalem was the deadliest in years in the city, holy to three faiths and claimed in whole or part as either a current or eventual capital by both Israelis and Palestinians. Since July, 17 people have been killed in Jerusalem. Authorities razed the home of one attacker - who rammed his car into a tram stop last month - on Wednesday.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited the region over the weekend, saying that he hoped both sides would soon return to bilateral negotiations on a two-state solution. Pope Francis also voiced dismay at the "alarming increase in tensions in Jerusalem," urging both sides to take the "courageous decisions" needed to achieve peace.

msh/mkg (AFP, dpa)

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