Greece to Recognize Palestinian State in Symbolic Vote

Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L) shake hands with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas as he arrives for a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on November 26, 2015, during an official visit. (Photo: Flash90)

Greece is likely to recognize Palestinian statehood in a symbolic vote at the Greek Parliament on Tuesday, in spite of Greece’s recent efforts to strengthen its relationship with Israel.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Athens on Sunday for an official visit to the country, and is slated to meet with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday.

Abbas will attend Tuesday’s Parliamentary meeting, where he will speak prior to the vote, which is widely expected to pass following last week’s unanimous decision by the Greek parliament’s defense and foreign affairs committee to approve the resolution.

The resolution is non-binding and largely symbolic, and was drawn up by the radical left-wing Syriza party now in power in Greece.

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It comes less than a month after Tsipras visited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel and vowed to strengthen bilateral cooperation and ties between the two countries. Tsipras also met with Abbas on the same visit.

The move to recognize Palestine is likely a political attempt by the left-wing party to balance improved Greek-Israeli relations with the party’s established support for a Palestinian state.

While 136 UN member states have officially recognized Palestine, including virtually all states in the Middle Eastern region and many in Central and Eastern Europe, almost no Western European countries currently recognize Palestine statehood.

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Source: Israel in the News