Brussels: The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Wednesday supporting Palestinian statehood in principle, in a compromise motion that did not follow some European national legislatures in backing immediate recognition of a Palestinian state.
Following a deal among the main parties, the motion carried by 498 votes to 88 stated: "(The European Parliament) supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced."
Lawmakers on the left had originally wanted to urge the EU`s 28 member states to recognise Palestine now without conditions.
This follows Sweden`s decision in October to do so and non-binding votes since then by parliaments in Britain, France and Ireland in favour of recognition that demonstrated growing European impatience with Israel and the stalled peace process.
Since the collapse of the latest U.S.-sponsored peace talks in April, Israel has pressed on with building settlements in territory the Palestinians want for their future state.
However, conservatives and centrists said recognition should only form part of a negotiated agreement with Israel.
"With this vote, the European Parliament has clearly rejected an unconditional recognition separate from the peace negotiations," said Elmar Brok, a German conservative who chairs the parliament`s foreign affairs committee.
The left emphasised there was broad support for statehood, as seen in national legislatures.
"European recognition of Palestinian statehood is not an alternative to either a two-state solution or to peace talks to achieve it but gives a vital impetus to both," said Richard Howitt, a member of the European Parliament for Britain`s opposition Labour Party.
There was no immediate reaction from the Palestinian or Israeli governments to the vote. Israel earlier expressed dismay over the decision of an EU court, based on a procedural complaint, to remove the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas from the bloc`s list of terrorist organisations.