SPAIN’S Congress has unilaterally voted in favour of a non-binding motion urging the government to recognise Palestine as an independent state.

The decision was welcomed by Palestinians who echoed the plea to the government while Israelis reminded that ‘the Palestinian state can only be created through direct negotiations and not from outside’.

Israelis also deplored the ‘timing’ of the vote as two palestinians murdered five Israelis and injured eight others after having burst into a Jerusalem synagogue armed with a gun and meat cleavers resulting in the bloodiest attack the city had seen in years. Both were also shot dead.

Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo said: “It is not binding, it does not set a timeline for the recognition, it gives the government the margin to proceed with the recognition when it feels it will be opportune.”

He added: “If we want to be effective this recognition must be done in coordination with the European Union.”

Palestine was officially recognised by Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Malta and Cyprus before they joined the EU while Sweden was the first EU member to do so.

Last month both the UK and Ireland passed non-binding motions to recognise Palestine.

The motion received 319 votes in favour, two against and one abstention.


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