Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Latin America recognizes Palestine

In December, Argentina and Brazil announced their recognition of a free and independent Palestinian State within the 1967 borders. Uruguay has also published intentions of doing the same. These latest actions have been part of an effort by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to find international support in order to apply pressure to Israel to stop its settlement activity and restart the peace talks. Israel has responded by expressing its disappointment to Argentina and Brazil in their recent actions.

A statement from the Israeli foreign ministry said that the government of Israel “expresses sadness and disappointment over the decision by the Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva a month before he steps down… Recognition of a Palestinian state is a breach of the interim agreement which was signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 1995 which said that the issue of the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be discussed and resolved through negotiations.”

Both presidents of Argentina and Brazil had sent similar letters to Abbas stating their support. Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s letter stated he and his government were “in line with Brazil’s historic willingness to contribute to peace between Israel and Palestine.” Uruguay’s public statement also mentions its intention to set up a diplomatic mission there in 2011. Argentina even stated in their announcement that all members of the Latin American MercoSur trade block have reached a general agreement on Palestine.

Today, about 100 countries recognize an independent Palestinian state, which includes most Arab countries, a large portion of African countries, China, India, South Africa, and Turkey

Although these recent actions in Latin America could bring more recognition towards the Palestinian National Assembly it also has its drawbacks. This impedes Barack Obama’s effort to improve the image of the United States in the Middle East as his administration is trying to be more forceful towards Israel in freezing their settlement expansion in the West Bank. As Israel continues to feel more isolated and threatened, it will rely on its U.S. ally for diplomatic aid. Some in the U.S. Congress have already been criticizing these recent actions by Brazil and Argentina. This is putting more pressure from the U.S. Congress on the Obama administration to come to Israel’s aid. Also, declaring a Palestinian state will create problems between the Palestinian National Assembly and its donors in Europe including U.S. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who met with Abbas on December 6, is believed to have told the Palestinian leader that such a move would be counterproductive and would make it appear as though the Palestinians are politically immature and unfit for negotiations.

The Palestinian territories are also politically, geographically and ideologically divided. They currently lack convincing leaders and negotiators. The Islamist Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and secular Fatah-controlled West bank are still at odds while Abbas himself has lost some respect from his own party after the leak of the Palestinian Papers. This division favors Israel.  However, these gestures are unlikely to have any real or practical impact on the current intractability of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Latin America recognizes Palestine