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What’s next for Palestine after recognition? -Lynn Boylan MEP

6 March, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan, this morning addressed a conference entitled Palestinian Statehood – what does it mean? The conference was organisedby Palestinian academic Ibrahim Natil.

Ms Boylan addressed the topic from an EU perspective, firstly acknowledging that destruction of Gaza last year triggered a reaction from many countries worldwide.

The Dublin MEP said:

“Sweden started the ball rolling by becoming the largest western country to recognise Palestine and this was soon followed by other countries including France, Portugal and Spain and the British House of Commons.

In December I was proud to vote in favour of the EU recognising Palestine by a vote of 498 to 88 with 111 abstentions.

Dáil Éireann also added its voice to this growing movement by agreeing to adopt Sinn Féin’s motion which called on the Irish government to respect Palestine’s right to self-determination and to recognise the state of Palestine.

So what is next for Palestine? These decisions across the globe while welcome must be built upon as they cannot be left as “symbolic” gestures.

From a European angle, while the EU has recognised Palestine, it continues to operate in many respects in a contradictory manner. For example, the EU-Israel association agreement, the impact TTIP could have on the BDS campaign, the massive sales of arms from the EU to Israel and the fact that the EU has offered Israel the title of “Special privileged partner” an offer that is still on the table.

As MEPs we must adopt and implement a number of strategies in order to pressure the EU to begin challenging Israel. Europe is Israel’s primary trading partner and cultural home. EU leaders must use that position to put pressure on Israel.

The EU should step in and help to manage the reconstruction of Gaza. Last summer should be taken as a final warning. Nowhere else would the EU stand idly by while millions of euros it had spent on infrastructure was destroyed.

The EU must introduce a new peace process based on international law and relevant UN resolutions. This will not be easy considering Israel’s arrogant attitude to UN resolutions.

To conclude, the recognition of the statehood of Palestine by the EU and other countries worldwide is not a conclusion, it is a beginning. It is a signal to Israel and an arm of comfort for Palestine. But I cannot stress enough that all of this is meaningless if the world and in particular the EU now sits on its hands.”

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