Palestinian Statehood Gains Ground
Turkey, Brazil, Urugay and Argentina have recognized a Palestinian state, within the 1967 borders, leading some to predict an eventual war with Israel.
Outgoing Brazilian president Lula da Silva was first to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, in a letter to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on December 1, reports The Washington Post. Turkey followed up on December 5, following a meeting between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Abbas. Erdogan also said he would campaign for the idea with other heads of state.
Argentina and Uruguay followed da Silva’s lead with their own recognition of a Palestinian state, reports Ma’an News. Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said the recognition reflected a general consensus among members of Mercosur, the South American trade bloc that consists of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Uruguay said they would make an official statement in 2011.
Abbas has been campaigning extensively to get support for a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. That movement has also gained traction after Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu refused an American request to end the construction of West Bank settlements on December 8. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit reportedly insisted that discussions should transition to an “end game for a Palestinian settlement.”
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) unilaterally declared an independent Palestinian state in 1998, a move that is recognized by at least 100 countries, albeit in equivocal terms.
Middle East analyst Jonathan Schanzer predicts the formation of a Palestinian state would start a war with Israel. The approximately 400,000 Israeli settlers currently living in the West Bank will not simply “pull up and move, especially if they were not consulted on the matter. Expect them to fight,” he writes. Schanzer also predicts border disputes between Israel and a Palestinian state, as well as the new country being used to launch new missile and terror attacks on Israel.
“A declaration of statehood without Israeli approval could start a war in which the Palestinians themselves would pay the highest price,” Schanzer warns.