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Would EU recognition of Palestine be more than symbolic?

European recognition of the State of Palestine would both strengthen the Palestinian hand in peace negotiations with Israel and weaken Israel’s claim to its settlements in the occupied territories.
European High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Policy Federica Mogherini of Italy attends her hearing before the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs at the EU Parliament in Brussels October 6, 2014. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir (BELGIUM - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR495B3

On Nov. 7, Federica Mogherini is embarking on a two-day visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, her first official trip abroad as the EU’s new high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. Her visit comes at a critical time, with violence now regularly flaring in East Jerusalem amid the collapse of the US-led peace process. Many Palestinians feel their political horizons receding after a series of Israeli actions have further undermined prospects for reaching a two-state solution while further stoking tensions.

In remarks made before her trip, Mogherini underlined her belief that European actions can be decisive at this key moment, but it requires the European Union to move forward. Although her comments may be dismissed by some, they come against a backdrop of increasing European frustration with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies toward the occupied territories. In a sign of things to come, an EU spokesperson warned, “The future development of relations between the EU and Israel will depend on engagement toward a lasting peace based on a two-state solution."

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