Here’s some perhaps surprising and undoubtedly welcome news: The European Union said it will not recognize Palestinian statehood until an “appropriate” time, rejecting a request from Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat that it join those countries — most recently Argentina and Brazil — that have already recognized a unilaterally declared Palestinian state.
Many assume that a similar request will come before the United Nations by next fall.
Born out of their frustration with the stalled peace process (for which their own leaders bear no small measure of responsibility), the Palestinians seem eager for the UN to a dictate a solution to the Israel-Palestinian issue. Considering the anti-Israel bias of the countries likely to vote for Palestinian statehood, Israel is correct to see this move as an end-run around the difficult compromises that any peace process would ask of the Palestinians.
Interestingly, a declaration of unilateral statehood will also fly in the face of resolutions, endorsed by Brazil, Argentina, and other countries as far back as 1967, that endorse a two-state solution based on “boundaries being freely agreed upon, good neighborliness, and peaceful settlement procedures pursuant to the UN Charter.” As Alan Baker of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs points out, Palestinian dictation of a boundary would violate any notion of “good neighborliness” and undermine UN procedures for a peaceful resolution.
More than the UN’s reputation, such as it is, will be at stake. By bypassing the negotiating process and ignoring their prior agreements, the Palestinians in effect will have vindicated the Israeli pessimists who insist that “we have no partners for peace.”
As Baker asks, “How, one might ask, can the Palestinian leadership expect to instill confidence in the Israeli government and public while at the same time engaging in a policy of maligning Israel and its leaders, seeking to delegitimize Israel, and undermining the agreed-upon negotiating process which is aimed at achieving peace between the two peoples?”
The United States, for one, should remain firm, and join the EU in rejecting this pernicious trend.