Belated recognition

Published May 24, 2024

WITH Wednesday’s announcement by three European states that they intend to recognise Palestine as a state later this month, the Palestinian people have achieved another symbolic, moral victory. Though Norway, Ireland and Spain may have made the move a bit late in the day — Palestine is already recognised by 143 states, the global majority in fact — it is welcome nonetheless, particularly in the midst of the Israeli campaign of extermination in Gaza. It shows that even those states that may have had reservations previously about supporting the Palestinian struggle for recognition and dignity are today clear in their minds that this is what justice demands. Yet there remains a powerful US-led minority in the international community that is doing all it can to prevent Palestinian statehood. But the comity of nations overall has spoken: Palestinians have a right to a sovereign state as per the pre-1967 border status. Of course, it is a matter of debate whether the long-dead two-state solution can still be revived, as Israel has, over the decades, dealt it several mortal blows, with its savage forays inside the occupied territories, and the building of settlements on stolen land. Tel Aviv has feigned great outrage at the fact that three more states have endorsed the idea that Palestine has a right to exist.

The move indicates that there are those in the Western bloc that have broken from the pack, by daring to criticise Israel’s atrocious behaviour. Most of the Global South had accorded recognition to Palestine when Yasser Arafat proclaimed Palestinian statehood in 1988, with the numbers growing over the years. Today, only the US, Canada, Australia, and a few others, have yet to recognise Palestine. It is strange that these states, many of which claim to be champions of fundamental rights, do not believe these rights should be given to the Palestinians. It is hoped that those in the Western bloc that have extended recognition now apply pressure on their allies to ensure that the remaining obstacles standing in the way of universal recognition of Palestinian statehood, and Palestine’s admission to the UN, are permanently removed. The sacrifices of the Palestinian people cannot be allowed to be wasted, while Israel must realise that its attempts to erase the Palestinian people and their centuries-old identity is bound to fail.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2024

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