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May 22, 2023 11:10 am

Portuguese Parliament Declares Solidarity With Israel on 75th Anniversary of Independence

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Deputies in the Portuguese parliament applauding Israeli Ambassador Dor Shapira. Photo: Twitter

Portugal’s parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution expressing solidarity with Israel as the Jewish state marks the 75th anniversary of its founding.

The resolution celebrating “a Jewish home in the Land of Israel ( Eretz Israel ), where its roots go back at least 35 centuries and where the Jewish national, cultural and religious identity was formed and its physical presence maintained through the centuries, even after many were forced into exile,” was approved by 215 MPs, with 11 voting against and four abstentions.

Alexandre Poço — an MP from the center-left Social Democratic Party and the chair of the Portugal-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group — hailed the resolution, passed last Friday, as “a salute on a historic date to a country and people who are friends of Portugal”.

Underlining that “the relationship between Portugal and Israel has been deepened in recent years in several areas”, Poço spoke of “the joint path that the two countries and peoples can take to deal with their challenges.”

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Socialist deputy Isabel Moreira told local news outlet Expresso 50 that while she supported the right of Israel to exist, she had voted against the resolution because of human rights organization Amnesty International’s position that “the mass occupation of Palestinian territories and properties, executions, forced displacements, radical limitations on circulation and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians, are part of a system that amounts to apartheid under international law”.

Following the vote, several deputies stood up and applauded Dor Shapira, the Israeli Ambassador in Lisbon who observed the proceedings from the parliament’s gallery.

Israel and Portugal assumed diplomatic relations in 1977, following the country’s first democratic election following the revolution of 1974 that overthrew the country’s military dictatorship.

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