As peace talks with Israel falter, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is seeking to convince countries around the world to officially recognize an independent Palestinian state. More than 100 countries already recognize Palestine, most having done so after Palestine declared statehood in 1988. In the past week, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina have joined this group, and some say other South American states could follow. This effort has brought renewed attention to Palestine's effort to secure independence not by a peace deal with Israel but through international recognition. Could it work? Is it a good idea?
- Recognition 'Purely Symbolic' Without the West, the Jerusalem Post's Herb Keinon writes:
Jerusalem is worried several other Latin American countries may follow suit. Israel is not, however, overly concerned that Western democracies actually involved in the diplomatic process in the region will take similar measures. ... Israeli officials characterized the South American moves as 'purely symbolic,' with little significance other than giving the Palestinian Authority public relations points. The officials said there was little concern that the EU would follow suit, and noted that both the US and France have in recent days made statements saying that a solution to the conflict needed to come through negotiation.
- Would Set Back Efforts for Negotiated Peace Juan Cole cautions against rebuking the ongoing direct peace talks. "One problem with a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state is that Israel and the United States reject any such move, and it is hard to see how such a state can come into existence if the Israelis don't want it to. The second problem is that the final collapse of the peace process could provoke another round of Palestinian uprisings."
- Won't Solve Issue, But Could Force Israel to Action "Palestinians," Arab-American activist Hussein Ibish writes, "would be foolish not to understand that in the end Israeli opposition will make it practically impossible to establish and maintain a viable, sovereign and independent state of Palestine. But Israel would be foolish not to understand widespread international recognition of Palestine's legitimacy and existence has very significant consequences as well."
- Palestine Should Force UN To Vote "Enough talk. Enough stalling," The Daily Beast's Reza Aslan declares. "It"s well past time to declare statehood and force a vote of recognition in the United Nations. Obama claims the U.S. will veto any such vote. Let's call his bluff. Let's find out if this president is ready to stand utterly alone on the world stage as the sole head of state refusing to recognize the existence of a Palestinian state just so he can appease an ally, Israel, that over the last year has repeatedly gone of out its way to embarrass his administration and stifle his attempts at achieving a two-state solution."
- Could Increase Risk of Violence "If the Palestinian government unilaterally claims land where an estimated 400,000 Israeli settlers currently reside in the West Bank ... expect them to fight," Jonathan Schanzer warns in Foreign Policy. "And in the Middle East, border disputes are not settled through binding arbitration. Another military conflict is sure to follow. We can expect the Iran-sponsored proxies Hezbollah and Hamas to launch new rounds of rocket attacks, and perhaps even a military assault from the Palestinian territories."