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Israel slams Spain's 'unhelpful' Palestine vote

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Israel slams Spain's 'unhelpful' Palestine vote
A pro-Israeli demonstration in New York after five men were reportedly killed by two armed Palestinians in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images North America/AFP
13:39 CET+01:00
Israel says a vote by the Spanish parliament on Tuesday calling on Madrid to recognize a Palestinian state is counterproductive because it will encourage Palestinians to take on more extreme positions in negotiations.

In a highly symbolic move, Spanish MPs overwhelmingly adopted a motion urging the conservative government to recognize Palestine in coordination with any similar move by the European Union.

The motion does not include a time frame and states — critically — that any future formal recognition of Palestine must be the result of talks between Palestine and Israel — a key condition making Tuesday's vote, different from similar moves in Britain and Ireland last month.

The vote in Madrid took place on the same day as two Palestinians staged a frenzied attack with meat cleavers and a gun at a synagogue in Jerusalem, killing four rabbis at prayer and a policeman, and drawing an angry response from Israel.

"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," a foreign ministry statement said.

"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."

Late on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu accused the international community of ignoring the bloodshed and seeking instead to reward the Palestinians, in a thinly veiled reference to the vote.

"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."

Israel has said repeatedly that the Palestinians will only secure their long-promised state through bilateral negotiations and not through unilateral recognition by foreign states or by the United Nations.

On October 30th, Sweden's new left-leaning government went a step further and officially recognized a Palestinian state, becoming the first EU member in western Europe to do so.

"The government believes that the international law criteria for the recognition of the State of Palestine has been met. There is a territory, there is a population and there is a government," said the country's foreign minister Margot Wallström.

Sweden's move prompted Israel to recall its ambassador.

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