Palestinian recognition lacks coherence

The irony in the wave of Palestinian recognizance is that no one waited for western powers to recognize Palestine.

Most of the African continent recognized Palestine prior to 1990, but the chain reaction of defensiveness on the part of the Israeli administration speaks to a truth we all acknowledge: some countries carry more weight, and their weighing in the balance is long overdue.

The Peace Process is dead Lieberman proposes economic incentives for Israeli-Arabs who consider themselves Palestinian to leave, as if they were illegal migrants. Of course Avigdor Lieberman is as usual, nothing else but consistent in his positions and charming as ever. Does this mean that he supports a Palestinian state? And if so how soon? What if every Israeli-Palestinian were to take him up on that today, would he sign off on a Palestinian state? Lieberman might be consistent in his vitriol, but he clearly hadn’t thought this thing through.

The Israeli right is run by politicians jonesing for annexation, and Palestinians are too politically divided to propose anything coherent to their non-partners in negotiation, or their partners in non-negotiation, at any rate, even if Hamas and Fatah were to join forces tomorrow and do everything Israel asked, it still wouldn’t make a difference.

Mahmoud Abbas is right to take the international route, distance himself from Hamas, and push for international pressure to resolve a territorial issue that should, and to be honest could have been solved years ago by Yasser Arafat.

In the past months, Sweden, the UK, Spain and most recently France have all moved towards a formal recognition of Palestine, except for the Swedes who opted for full recognition, and the European Union is taking steps in the same direction.

Its obvious that if you leave it to Israelis and Palestinians to fix this mess on their own, nothing will ever happen.

And yet, while moving the wave of recognitions lacks a fundamental dynamic: coherence.

Sweden recognized Palestine as stated above. France voted to move the motion forward, both countries acknowledging 1967 borders. Spain’s vote was less specific, referring to two states but dependent on an EU resolution. The United Kingdom moved much like Spain to acknowledge the need for a new reality, but in equally general terms.

In order for these resolutions to carry the necessary weight to eventually lead to real pressure towards a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, European countries should finalize a resolution at the EU level, that Member States would then ratify, and a carefully worded and consulted policy and a playbook of measures, sanctions, and actions that EU Member States can take to influence dynamics on the ground.

The EU postponed the vote on recognizing Palestine in order to work out semantic disagreements, highlighting the difficulty in finding a common ground on what Palestine is, and the efficiency of Israeli lobbying, but it is necessary that a common position is agreed on first before countries move on their own, and complicate matters further through ad hoc positioning and unilateral moves.

And if EU negotiations fail, it doesn’t mean a “coalition of the willing” (love the concept, thanks W) can’t come together to propose the above.

Three times the charm usually, but I doubt an intifada is gonna make a difference to an administration that just sacked its most vocal opposition, and if wins the upcoming election will have carefully instigated a democratic right-wing coup, since he clearly stated he will no longer tolerate an opposition within the government (take that Arab MKs). That from a guy who just claimed Israel was the most democratic state in the world. It’s called Fascism sir, but you know that…

International pressure is a must, but it can’t be as chaotic as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict itself, or it will only complicate things further.

About the Author
Mame Bougouma Diene is a civil servant on permanent vacation even when he works 70 hours a week, who also blogs for the Times of Israel in French. He's French-Senegalese American, loves Israel and the Middle East, would really like to see an end to this intractable mess in his lifetime.