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Recognition's Diplomatic Leverage Could Strengthen Palestinian Rights

World  (tags: middle-east, palestine, israel, Human Rights, Recognition of the Palestinian state, UK, Europe, Sweden, US, UN, ICC, Civil Liberties )

- 1673 days ago -
European recognition of a Palestinian state could well pressure Israel to behave in accordance with international law. But whatever the ultimate outcome, one state or two, you can't go wrong with rights.


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Evelyn B (63)
Friday October 17, 2014, 4:18 am
Recognitionís Diplomatic Leverage Could Strengthen Palestinian Rights
Nadia Hijab

Updated October 16, 2014, 6:19 PM

Britainís House of Commons and the prime minister of Sweden recognized a Palestinian state in order to support Palestinian rights, and they have braved criticism to do so.

The problem lies in how Palestinian rights are defined and who is doing the defining. Much has changed since the Palestinians decided, at the parliament-in-exile in 1988, to seek the right to self-determination in a two-state solution, an Israel and a Palestine living side by side, thus abandoning the quest for one secular democratic state in which Jews and Palestinians were equal.

Like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement it puts a price on Israelís continued illegal occupation.

But 1988 was nearly 500,000 Israeli settlers ago. It was a time when the 1993 Oslo process had not yet carved up the West Bank into areas A, B and C, with Israel pushing Palestinians out of Area C (60 percent of the West Bank).

At that time, the Palestine Liberation Organization spoke for the rights of the entire Palestinian people -- those living under occupation, as refugees and exiles, and as an increasingly discriminated against minority in Israel. Today the P.L.O. is unrepresentative and indeed more responsive to the United States and other major powers than to Palestinians.

Many now believe Israel has made a Palestinian state impossible and that the P.L.O. as currently constituted is unable to wage the campaign for Palestinian rights. There are calls for a return to the political program of one secular democratic state. I am agnostic: Either outcome would be acceptable if it guaranteed the rights of all citizens.

For a while, two states seemed more achievable due to the backing of major powers. Tragically, these same powers have facilitated Israelís settlement enterprise Ė particularly the United States, through billions of military aid and its United Nations veto. Britain and Swedenís trade with Israel is on the rise. Thus, Israel has been able to break the law with impunity.

Major European states might come to recognize Palestine, enabling the P.L.O. to pursue legal complaints in European courts. But the P.L.O. already has legal tools it is not using to further Palestinian rights. By contrast, the rights-based demands of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (or B.D.S.) movement Ė which takes no position on statehood Ė resonate with people everywhere and it has been effective in putting a price to Israelís occupation.

The truth is, there is no political outcome in the foreseeable future. European recognition of a Palestinian state could well pressure Israel to behave in accordance with international law. But whatever the ultimate outcome, one state or two, you canít go wrong with rights.

Slava R (1311)
Friday October 17, 2014, 4:18 am

Past Member (0)
Friday October 17, 2014, 10:37 am
They'll still need to recognize the Independent State of Israel.

Evelyn B (63)
Friday October 17, 2014, 10:57 am
Arafat & the PLO - and effectively hence, the Palestinian entity - recognised the State of Israel in December 1988. The problem is not recognition of Israel by the Palestinians, but the careful avoidance by Israel of recognising the borders of this State.

And, of course, that certain groups in Israel and abroad refuse to recognise the fact that the Palestinians are a specific population that has been living in this land for millenia ... for most of that time, a multi-religious population group composed of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Druze ... Recognised in history texts, maps, administrative documents (including censuses).

Bruce C D (89)
Friday October 17, 2014, 12:53 pm
The problem is that Israel should not be given any veto power over Palestinian statehood, and that the principles of rights and International Law should be held paramount. This article has it exactly right.

Evelyn B (63)
Friday October 17, 2014, 1:33 pm
Nadia Hijab has a gift for clear sight, balanced arguments! I'd give you a star if I could, but I've used my quota right now, Bruce!

Sandra Penna (135)
Friday October 17, 2014, 1:47 pm
I agree with Bruce C D. Thanks for sharing, Evelyn.

Carrie B (306)
Saturday October 18, 2014, 7:57 pm
Agree completely with Bruce's comment. Thanks Evelyn.

Jonathan Harper (0)
Sunday October 19, 2014, 12:27 am

Kathleen M (208)
Monday October 20, 2014, 1:14 pm
Noted. Thanks for posting, Evelyn. Kudos, Bruce! You nailedit.
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