The French and British Prime Ministers both gave interviews Thursday morning that indicated their willingness to recognize a Palestinian state if peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians result in failure. The statements came in the midst of a diplomatic visit to both countries by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.British Prime Minister David Cameron told Netanyahu that unless Israel engages in a real and meaningful peace process with the Palestinians, Britain would consider backing the declaration of a Palestinian state that the Palestinian President plans to make at the United Nations General Assembly in September.
Nicholas Sarkozy, the French Prime Minister, spoke to reporters with the French weekly L’Express in advance of a meeting with the Israeli leader. Sarkozy told the reporters that he hoped the peace process would resume over the summer, but added that, “If, conversely, the peace process remains stalled in September, France will take responsibility on the central question of recognizing a Palestinian state.”
Neither the British nor the French Prime Ministers publicly rejected the Palestinian unity government, as requested by Netanyahu, and Nicholas Sarkozy voiced his outright support for the unity deal made between rival Palestinian factions on Wednesday.
A number of other states, including Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Chile have recognized the Palestinian state, and have called on the United Nations to do the same. Britain and France have both been strong supporters of Israel, and their recognition of a Palestinian state could have serious implications for their relationships with the Israeli state.