French lawmakers voted on Tuesday in favour of recognising Palestine as a state, following similar moves in Britain and Spain as European countries try to restart the stalled Middle East peace process.
The highly symbolic vote in the lower house National Assembly is not binding on French government policy but is likely to spark fury in Israel, whose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned it would be a "grave mistake."
MPs voted 339 to 151 in favor of a motion that invites Paris to recognize the state of Palestine "as an instrument to gain a definitive resolution of the conflict."
Palestinians are seeking to achieve statehood in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank with east Jerusalem as the capital. With little progress on reaching a settlement, they have been lobbying foreign powers for international recognition.
During a debate on the issue Friday, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stressed that Paris would recognize Palestine if diplomatic efforts failed again and urged a resolution to the Middle East conflict within two years.
France is spearheading a drive at the United Nations to unfreeze the moribund peace process and the Palestinian envoy to the UN said earlier Tuesday a draft resolution could be submitted to the Security Council by mid-December. more