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Half of European Union Backs Palestinian State

Nearly half of all European Union member states will vote in favor of upgrading the Palestinian Authority’s status at the United Nations, an E.U. spokesperson reportedly said.

The news site E.U. Observer on Tuesday quoted the E.U.’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Maja Kocijancic, as saying that “about 12” of the E.U.’s 27 member states will vote in favor of the Palestinian bid to gain U.N. “Observer State status” on the basis of “the pre-1967 borders.”

Last year, the U.N.’s cultural office, UNESCO, admitted “Palestine” as a member. Eleven E.U. countries – Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia and Spain – voted in favor. Another 11 abstained, and five – the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Sweden – voted against.

Cyprus and Israel have since developed closer ties over joint exploration of natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea. But Dutch foreign minister Uri Rosenthal left his post in a new coalition government this week.

Rosenthal’s successor, center-left politician Frans Timmermans, has in the past criticized the Dutch government’s pro-Israeli line.

In September of last year, Timmermans wrote on his Twitter account: “The Dutch policy in the Middle East is being determined by Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu,” Israel’s prime minister.

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