Heiko Maas (MSC/Barth/Wikimedia Commons)

‘Nations Could Recognize Palestinian State if Israel Approves Annexations’

Various European nations are reportedly weighing recognition of a Palestinian state and, in more extreme cases, imposing sanctions on Israel if it goes ahead with plans to annex parts of the West Bank. According to reports citing unnamed Palestinian officials, Ireland is already taking steps to this effect, while Ramallah is applying pressure to France, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg and Belgium to follow suit. A committee in Belgium’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday approved a motion calling on the government to recognize Palestine, with a debate in the full chamber slated to take place within two weeks. The news dovetails with reports that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday conveyed the same message during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem – although Berlin is not expected to penalize the Jewish state if the annexations are advanced. Despite repeated vows to annex all 132 settlements in the West Bank on July 1, Netanyahu is now reportedly seeking to initially apply sovereignty over only three regions: Ma’ale Adumim and Gush Etzion, both located in close proximity to Jerusalem, and Ariel, in the northern West Bank.

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