Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday (23 November) that France "would make a grave mistake" if it recognizes a Palestinian state.

Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, France 24 reported Netanyahu as saying: "Do they have nothing better to do at a time of beheadings across the Middle East, including that of a French citizen? Recognition of a Palestinian state by France would be a grave mistake.

"The State of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, the only state that we have, and the Palestinians demanding a state do not want to recognise the right to have a state for the Jewish people."

France joined 13 EU states in November 2012 to upgrade Palestinian territories' status to non-member "observer state" at the UN General Assembly.

A draft of France's current proposal "invites the French government to use the recognition of the state of Palestine as an instrument to gain a definitive resolution of the conflict," reported France 24.

So far, the Swedish government announced its decision to officially recognize the state of Palestine on 30 October, that resulted in Israel recalling its ambassador to Stockholm, and drew criticism from the United States.

In recent developments, the Spanish parliament also passed a resolution to recognize the Palestine state, following a similar non-binding resolution passed by British lawmakers on October 13.

Bill to recognize Israel's 'Jewish character'

Meanwhile, Israel's cabinet has voted 14-6 to approve a bill that officially recognizes Israel's status as "the national homeland of the Jewish people".

France 24's Israel correspondent Gallagher Fenwick said: "If you enshrine the Jewish character of Israel into law, that automatically excludes a significant part of the population, both Arabs and Druze, many of whom serve in the Israeli military.

"The devil is in the details. Will the final bill talk about equality for all of Israel's citizens? Where will the democratic nature of the state fall into this bill?"

For the bill to become a law, however, it first needs to be passed in parliament.