Status of recognition of the “State of Palestine”
Out of 193 UN member states, 137 countries – equivalent to 71% as of 3 August 2018, have recognized The State of Palestine. Out of the 137 countries, 17 of them have recognized Palestine on the basis of the “green line” (the 1949 ceasefire lines – erroneously known as the 1967 borders). The other countries have left the demarcation to future decisions.
In 2012, the UN recognized the “State of Palestine” as a non-member observer state. It was an upgrade from their status as an observer organization. Several UN organizations have accepted Palestine as a member. The UN has even named Palestine as the chairman of the year for the largest group of UN members “Group of 77”, which includes 134 developing countries.
In 2014, the recognition claim was raised in the EU Parliament – and rejected.
In Denmark, the Unity List (EL) and the Socialist People’s Party (SF) have regularly tried to pressure the Danish government to do as Sweden does. Sweden recognized Palestine in 2014 (without specifying the borders). The Radical Left (RV) agreed in their 2018 resolution that the EU should recognize Palestine as soon as possible.
Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke (MS) has had a year-long campaign running for recognition and in December 2014, MS handed over 34,500 signatures to the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Martin Lidegaard (RV). As of 27 May 2019, more than 58 thousand Danes have signed.
Typical arguments for a “here-and-now” recognition are:
Put pressure on both parties by showing that the outside world – including the EU – demands more accountability
Strengthen the peace forces of the parties
Strengthen peace talks
Do something concrete about the demarcation – primarily to remove the settlements
Unfortunately, there is no indication that the analysis is correct – on the contrary. It is certainly true that one could demand much more from the Palestinians if they had a recognized state rather than a self-governing territory (PA) with a separate foreign policy representation (PLO).
What is the use of demanding more from someone who is unwilling or unable to provide what is needed?
What good is a web site if it simply “blends in” with everything else out there?
Even if the current framework is bankrupt, it does not make sense to recognize Palestine without a replacement for the pre-agreed negotiation processes. Regardless of the concrete negotiation processes – certain principles for a meaningful recognition of a state should be respected.
There are several reasons for the above assessment.
Requirements for a modern state
Recognizing Palestine as a state here and now would be tantamount to recognizing a fantasy state, as MIFF wrote in 2011.
In particular, the following two sets of rules are relevant in assessing whether it makes sense to recognize a modern state. The fact that 137 countries have recognized the State of Palestine without regard to those rules is not conducive to peace and justice.
Montevideo Convention – 1933
The Palestinian Authority does not meet the four requirements of the Montevideo Convention for a state that is:
a) A defined land area over which the country can exercise effective sovereignty
b) A permanent population.
c) One government.
d) Capacity to conclude agreements with other countries.
ad a) A recognized country can in practice have controversial borders – Israel does. But what about the other three requirements?
ad b) When the Palestinian leadership pushes hard for the Palestinians to have the right to move to Israel, there is hardly a permanent population.
ad c) The Palestinian Authority is a government in fierce competition with a non-cooperating Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. This means that only the West Bank (and only zones A and B) are governed by the Self-Government.
ad d) According to current agreements, the self-government does not have the authority to enter into agreements with other countries – the PLO does.
In addition, it is entangled in a deep mess: Mahmoud Abbas is both chairman of the PLO, chairman of the Fatah party (the dominant faction in the PLO), and president of the Self-Government. That was also the case under Yasser Arafat.
European Guidelines for the Recognition of New States – 1991
In 1991, several European countries drafted the “Guidelines for the Recognition of New States in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union”. The following analysis is based on: “Recognizing a Palestinian State before a Pace Agreement with Israel Undermines the International Rule of Law” (Peter Wertheim, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2017-08-07).
The guidelines emphasized that the new states should respect the UN Charter, have a special respect for the rule of law, democracy and human rights; provide guarantees for ethnic and national groups as well as the rights of minorities; have respect for the fact that borders must not be violated; and committed to resolving regional disputes through diplomacy or mediation.
Two other demands that are extremely relevant to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians are:
(1) European countries required states that emerged after the dissolution of Yugoslavia to “commit themselves, before recognition , to adopt constitutional and political guarantees that ensure that they has no territorial claims against a neighboring country ». There is no indication that the Palestinians are ready to give up further demands. See e.g. analysis below:
What do the Palestinians really want? – only 30% believe that a two-state solution is acceptable as a lasting solution ….
In April 2017, Daniel Polisar reviewed 400 opinion polls conducted by five different Palestinian institutes in recent years. Polisar found that when the Palestinians are given three choices – 1) an Israeli and a Palestinian state side by side in peace, 2) a one-state solution with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians, 3) a Palestinian state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean (without Israel), then most Palestinians choose the third option. Only a minority of about 30 percent of Palestinians say they will accept a two-state solution as a lasting solution. The majority of about 70 percent accept a two-state solution as a temporary solution, but will continue the fight until the whole of “Palestine” is “liberated”.
(2) European countries also demanded that states may not carry out hostile propaganda against a neighboring state. The Palestiniansis waging a massive propaganda war against Israel – we just want to refer to two articles by Bassam Tawil as examples here on miff.dk: “The Palestinians’ anti-Semitic stereotyping of Jews” and “How the Palestinians lie to the Europeans”
Recognition of Palestinian state violates previous peace process agreements
Until otherwise agreed, it is the Oslo Accords, together with the “Middle East Quartet Roadmap”, which is the internationally recognized framework for the peace processes.
The Oslo Accords – 1991-1995
In a letter dated 9 September 1993 to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, PLO President Yasser Arafat promised to negotiate a permanent solution to the all conflicts and disagreements. Recognizing the state of Palestine before a negotiated solution is in place is thus a breach of the promise that was also an important foundation of the Oslo Accords (“Declaration of Principles of Temporary Autonomy”). was named – was signed on September 13, 1993 by PLO President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Washington, DC, with representatives from the United States and Russia as witnesses.
Subsequently, several agreements were reached in 1994-1995 – which were merged and updated in the Oslo II agreement, which was signed in Washington, D.C. September 28, 1995. The Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO President Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo II agreement with representatives from several countries and international associations as witnesses: the United States (Bill Clinton), Russia, Egypt, Jordan, Norway, and the EU. . According to the Oslo II agreement, the Palestinians do not have jurisdiction or control over external borders, airspace, international relations and Israeli settlements. The Palestinian Authority is bound by that agreement, in stark contrast to their claim that Palestine is already a state.
The Middle East Quartet’s “Roadmap for Peace” – 2002
The Oslo II Agreement was intended to be the recipe for the steps to be taken until one reached the “final status” issues and a solid peace agreement. Although several agreements were reached in the “Oslo process”, the decisive results were not forthcoming.
In 2002, a “Middle East Quartet” (also known as the Madrid Quartet) was formed between the UN, the United States, the European Union and Russia, but that institution has also had a hard time – it is not completely dead.
By 5 February 2011, the Middle East Quartet stated that unilateral action by some of the parties could not pre-determine the outcome of negotiations and: “will not be recognized by the international community”. the international community opposes the 137 countries’ recognition of Palestine.
Issues brought together to end the peace process
A number of issues in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians remain unresolved. These are the so-called “Final Status” issues: borders, the separation wall, settlements, Jerusalem, refugees, security, and water. So far, both the occupation and the restrictions on Gaza (including the blockade) are legal.
Peter Wertheim emphasizes two main points in relation to international law:
International law states that border disputes can only be resolved by the states involved in the border conflict in question. Other actors who are not part of the conflict cannot enforce a solution. Neither Oslo, New York, Geneva, Brussels nor Copenhagen can decide where to place the border between Israel and a possible Palestinian state.
In addition, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have concluded more than 40 bilateral agreements. If a Palestinian state is established without a negotiated solution, the basis for many of the bilateral agreements willlapse. If other states contribute to it, it will be the same as undermining the integrity of international law, Wertheim writes.
Recognition here and now solves nothing – on the contrary
What would happen if the Palestinians here and now got their own state in the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip? Hamas would continue to have effective control over the Gaza Strip. Hamas’ charter is anti-Semitic and Nazi-inspired; they are on the terrorist list in a large number of countries; they speak for the destruction of Israel, they reject existing agreements and they prepare for new wars. None of this disappears by more countries recognizing Palestine – on the contrary.
If Palestine is to be recognized as a sovereign state, it must be within the framework established by international law and the modern practice of European countries for the recognition of new states. Recognition here and now will not bring peace. On the contrary, there is much to suggest that recognition will exacerbate and prolong the conflict.
– The Palestinians ‘attempt to get [other countries’ governments] to recognize a Palestinian state is an attempt to get a Palestinian state without resolving the conflict with Israel. Unilateral recognition will only strengthen the least compromising forces on both sides and lead the parties further apart. It is likely to result in more, not less, bloodshed, Wertheim concludes.
That is why Denmark and the EU must hold on!