Belgium is not positioning itself for immediate recognition of the Palestinian state

Belgium is not positioning itself for immediate recognition of the Palestinian state
Belgium is not positioning itself for immediate recognition of the Palestinian state

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) did not come out in favor of immediate recognition of a Palestinian state on Wednesday before the meeting of the restricted cabinet (kern) which began at noon.

The Kern did not move forward on Wednesday towards official recognition of the Palestinian state by Belgium. Socialists, ecologists and CD&V wanted such a symbolic announcement, but the liberals put the brakes on, considering the timing inadequate.

The restricted council of ministers met as Norway, Ireland and Spain had just announced that they were preparing to officially recognize the existence of a Palestinian state. The Flemish socialists, including Minister Caroline Gennez who is returning from a visit there, wanted this issue to be addressed.

Most of the Vivaldi parties had announced the color: the socialists, the ecologists, and the CD&V, suggested that they were in favor of an announcement in the sense of recognition. The Open Vld and the MR, however, were not up for it. It is necessary to prioritize “measures which immediately lead to an improvement in the situation on the ground”, Alexander De Croo said during a company visit on Wednesday morning.

Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib had already clarified her vision of things in the House. It is “in the sense of History” to ultimately recognize the Palestinian State, but this recognition must be more than symbolic, she maintained. In other words: now is not the time for the Liberals.

For the government, it is not yet “the moment” to recognize Palestine. This immediate recognition would be rather symbolic and not concrete enough. This would not have direct consequences on the ground.

Belgium will be in discussions with representatives of Arab countries in the coming days.

“An important signal”

In a press release, socialist ministers Pierre-Yves Dermagne and Karine Lalieux expressed their dissatisfaction, accusing “the right” to block the recognition process. “This recognition would have been a powerful and clear signal from our country, which had the opportunity to stand out on the European and international scene as a partner for peace and a two-state solution”they emphasized.

“All the measures we consider must be measures which immediately lead to an improvement in the situation on the ground. Recognition? You can only do it once”he said from Ghent, where he was visiting the ArcelorMittal company.

Alexander De Croo believes that each diplomatic approach must have a clear priority: “This priority is to free the hostages and put an end to the violence in Gaza. The massacres of innocent civilians must stop.”

The kern discusses whether Belgium will follow Norway, Ireland and Spain and recognize a Palestinian state. In government, environmentalists, socialists, but also the CD&V want to take the plunge. Liberals rather emphasize actions on the ground, rather than immediate recognition.

“If you do this, it must immediately stop the violence”tempered Alexander De Croo. “That’s the vision we need to have to evaluate this. Let’s listen to each other.”

alexandre de croo palestine

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