SYRIZA MPs are preparing to propose a vote, possibly during the summer, for Parliament to recognize Palestine as a state based on its 1967 borders, Kathimerini understands.
The government is aware of the parliamentary group’s intentions but does not want the vote to take place before its negotiations with lenders have resulted in an agreement. Also, the government wants it to be clear that this will be a move by Parliament and not the Greek state as Athens does not want to damage improving relations with Israel.
In October last year, Sweden became the most recent European Union member to recognize Palestine following identical moves by 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 said 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 the institutions, it will now happen in a few months’ time.
MPs from the leftist party will try to get the backing of opposition parties for the vote as they believe that the initiative should have broad public support. Sources said it is possible that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be invited to Athens for the ballot. Abbas has already made it known that he would like to visit Greece soon.
SYRIZA has long supported the recognition of Palestine as a state and Tsipras knows that the vote will be a popular move among his MPs and the Greek public.