Greek parliament votes to recognize independent Palestinian state

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R) welcomes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece, December 21, 2015.  REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R) welcomes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece, December 21, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

The Greek parliament has unanimously voted to recognize Palestine as an independent state. It comes amid an official visit to Greece by the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
The Greek premier Alexis Tsipras said on Monday that the vote to recognize Palestinian statehood would only serve to cement formal recognition at a later “appropriate” date.

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Following today’s vote, Greece is set to change “PA [Palestinian Authority]” to “Palestine” in its official documents.

It should be noted that Palestine has been recognized by the Greek parliament, but not by the Greek state.

However, the move has already come under fire from Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who said the decision “leads nowhere” and has “no practical significance.”

Last year, Palestine was recognized as a state by Sweden, with the first Palestinian embassy opening in Stockholm in January 2015.

The UK, France, and the Vatican also recognize Palestinian statehood, but with restrictions, and are not legally bound to take any practical steps as a result of granting recognition.

In September, the Palestinian flag was hoisted for the first time at the UN headquarters as a symbolic gesture in the territory’s quest for statehood.

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