Why Abbas Shouldn't Go International
09 December '10
Posted before Shabbat
With the U.S.-led peace process looking increasingly moribund, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has begun enlisting foreign leaders in a dangerous effort to recognize a Palestinian state without Israel's agreement. Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, began this effort earlier this year to strengthen the Palestinian negotiating position, and it is bearing more fruit than even he could have expected. Abbas, however, should be careful what he wishes for. A declaration of statehood without Israeli approval could start a war in which the Palestinians themselves would pay the highest price.
Abbas has been laying the diplomatic groundwork for a unilateral declaration of statehood for months, visiting foreign capitals and lobbying governments to extend recognition. But his efforts have gained momentum this month as a U.S. proposal for an Israeli settlement freeze has fallen apart.
On Dec. 5, Abbas visited Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. Afterward, the Palestinian envoy to Turkey announced that Erdogan would recognize a Palestinian state (within the 1967 borders) at an unspecified time. Erdogan also reportedly promised to go to bat for the initiative with other heads of state. The territory in question includes both the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the Fatah-led West Bank, with the presumption (no doubt invoking the ire of Hamas) that the West Bank leadership would be in charge.
In recent days, several other countries have made similar declarations. In response to a request from Abbas, outgoing Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared last week that his country recognized the state of Palestine based on the 1967 borders. On Dec. 6, Uruguay announced that it would do the same, and Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner also wrote to Abbas that her country recognizes a "free and independent" Palestine. On Dec. 8, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused a U.S. request to extend the moratorium on construction in West Bank settlements and Abbas withdrew from peace talks, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit reportedly insisted that discussions should transition to an "end game for a Palestinian settlement."
(Read full article "A Palestinian State Means War")
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England....So many thoughts
2 days ago