ATHENS – MP’s from Greece’s ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, in a move that could irritate ally Israel, are preparing a Parliamentary vote to recognize Palestine as a state based on borders before the 1967 war.
It comes not from Premier Alexis Tsipras but a number of Members of Parliament from his disparate group, a loose collection of Maoists, Stalinists, Leninists, Trotskyites, Anarchists, Communists and other Far-Left units.
The government is aware of the parliamentary group’s intentions but does not want the vote to take place before its negotiations with international lenders have taken place, Kathimerini said.
Tspiras also reportedly wants to distance himself from the vote of his own party lawmakers, fearful of damaging relations with Israel.
In October last year, Sweden became the most recent European Union member to recognize Palestine following similar votes from another seven EU countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Slovakia, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Romania. Non-EU member Iceland is the only other western European nation to have done so.
Diplomatic sources told the paper that relations between Athens and Tel Aviv have been good since the SYRIZA-led coalition came to power in January.
A trilateral meeting between Greece, Cyprus and Israel was due to take place this month but due to the pressure on the government to conclude talks with lenders it has been pushed back.
SYRIZA MPs are hoping to get backing from opposition parties and Kathimerini said that it’s possible they may invite Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Athens for the vote. He’s already said he’d like to visit Greece.
SYRIZA has long supported the recognition of Palestine as a state but now that he’s in leadership Tsipras finds himself in a tough spot between former opposition rhetoric and political reality.