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Italy Lawmakers Push for ‘Palestine’ Recognition

Italian lawmakers on Friday backed a non-binding resolution that encourages the government to recognize Palestine as a state, a move that underlines European frustration over stalled Middle East peace negotiations.

European countries have become increasingly critical of Israel, which since the collapse of the latest U.S.-sponsored talks last April has pressed on with building settlements on territory the Palestinians want for their state.

Italy’s Chamber of Deputies voted by 300 to 45 to pass the motion presented by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD).

While most developing countries recognize Palestine as a state, most Western European governments do not, supporting the Israeli and U.S. position that an independent Palestinian state should emerge from negotiations with Israel.

Friday’s symbolic vote does not change the position of the Italian government which, like other European countries, still supports a negotiated two-state solution.

Ireland, Britain and France held similar votes in parliament toward the end of last year. Sweden went further, officially recognizing Palestine.

The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, with its capital in East Jerusalem.

While Gaza’s boundaries are clearly defined, the precise territory of what would constitute Palestine in the West Bank and East Jerusalem will only be determined via negotiations with Israel on a two-state solution.

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