Recognizing Palestinian Statehood: How Essential Is It to the Peace Progress?

The State of Palestine is one of the states with limited international recognition. As of 27 September 2013, 134 (69.4%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations have recognised the State of Palestine. But, Israel doesn't recognize it. In fact, the recent UK MPs' vote on Palestinian State recognition was rejected by Israel as an hindrance to any prospects of peace between the two sides (The Free Press, Oct.14). Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) felt that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to blame for it. "A cold wind is blowing toward Israel from every corner in the world, but they refuse to deal with the hard facts and are bringing a diplomatic storm," he said (The Jerusalem Post, Oct 14). It seems that only the United States remains as a strong supporter of Israel. Back in 2011, President Barack Obama told Abbas that the US would veto any United Nations Security Council move to recognise Palestinian statehood (The Telegraph, Sep 22, 2011). The US and a number of European countries still do not recognize the statehood of Palestine and are not supportive of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (NY Daily News). The Guardian has, however, opined that support for Palestinian statehood is a growing international trend, especially in wake of more recent events. It said:

Netanyahu’s government - and the Labour opposition - campaigned openly against the vote. But several hundred Israeli doves called for recognition on the basis that only the creation of an independent Palestinian state can guarantee Israel’s own future in the region.

Future parliamentary votes in Ireland, Denmark and Finland, but especially in France – a fellow security council member – are likely to confirm the shift of public opinion across Europe. Most other governments, sooner or later, will likely follow suit. The goal is to preserve the viability of the two-state outcome to the Palestine-Israeli conflict when no other solution to the impasse is in sight. (The Guardian)

On 15 November, 1988, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), in Algiers, declared the independence of the State of Palestine, claiming sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and designating Jerusalem as its capital. Since then an increasing number of countries began to lend it recognition and support. On November 26, 2012 the United Nations' General Assembly urged "all States, the specialized agencies and organizations of the United Nations system to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination, independence and freedom" (A67/L28). Subsequently, the Palestine Authority adopted the name "State of Palestine" ordering foreign ministries and embassies around the world to start using the title instead of the former "Palestinian National Authority" (Al Jazeera, Jan 8, 2013).

From the Christian side, support for Palestinian statehood have been reiterated by both the Catholic Pope and a number of Protestant leaders (ICN, JPost).

Growing consensus seems to favor Palestinian statehood as crucial to the peace process. But, Israel doesn't want to acknowledge that. It feels that the world is turning cold towards it. Back in 1948, when the State of Israel was formed, this "cold" world was warm towards her, to the chagrin of the Arabs. But, now the winds seem to have changed. Will this lead to peace? The majority believe the answer to be "Yes". But, the deeper sentiment relates to questions of justice and injustice. One root dispute centers around the City of Jerusalem (Wiki) and is subject of the debate whether the City could be the capital of two states (Wiki). Perhaps, Obama may be judicious in stating that "genuine peace can only be realized between Israelis and Palestinians themselves.” (NYT, Sep 21, 2011).

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