which countries have already taken the plunge? – The Express

which countries have already taken the plunge – The Express

“The international community will not be able to help the Palestinian state if it does not recognize its existence.” On Wednesday April 10, the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, among the most critical voices in Europe vis-à-vis Israel, declared to deputies that Madrid was ready to recognize Palestine as a state. Such recognition “is in Europe’s geopolitical interest”, he said, without specifying a date. During a tour of the Middle East last week, the socialist told the press that this recognition could take place by the end of June.

A possibility that has long been taboo for Western countries, but is now mentioned by the leaders of several of them. The day before, Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin also announced his intention to submit to the government a formal proposal on the recognition of a Palestinian state when “broader international discussions” are completed. Recognition of statehood “could serve as a catalyst to help the people of Gaza and the West Bank and to advance an Arab-led peace initiative”, he later told the Irish news site The Journal, indicating that the formal proposal would be made “in the coming weeks.” The same day, Australia suggested that it might do the same.

Recognized by 137 countries

In the European Union, where only 9 of the 27 members consider Palestine as a state – mainly the former Eastern Bloc countries – Spain and Ireland have been trying to move the lines since the start of the conflict in Gaza . At the end of March, the two countries published a joint declaration with the Maltese and Slovenian representatives, in which all said they were “ready to recognize Palestine”.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is also due to meet his Portuguese and Norwegian counterparts on this subject in the coming days, Spanish government spokesperson Pilar Alegría said on Tuesday. In February, French President Emmanuel Macron also took a step forward, saying that unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state was “not a taboo for France”.

Observer member at the UN

In the world, the majority of countries recognize the State of Palestine: 137 countries, or 70% of the 193 member states of the UN. But this is not the case for many countries in Western Europe, those in North America, Australia or Japan and South Korea.

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In September 2011, the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, launched the procedure requesting “the accession of the State of Palestine to the UN”, which was never completed. Since 2012, the Palestinians have had the status of “non-member observer state”.

Countries that recognize a Palestinian state

© / AFP

In the absence of full member status with voting rights, the title of observer state gives access to UN agencies and international treaties. With this new status, the Palestinians will join the International Criminal Court in 2015, which will allow the opening of investigations into military operations in the Palestinian territories. The United States and Israel denounce this decision.

Proclaimed independent since 1988

The demand for a Palestinian state is decades old. It was on November 15, 1988, a few months after the start of the first Intifada, that the State of Palestine was officially proclaimed in Algiers by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The latter claims sovereignty in the West Bank, in the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem as its capital.

Algeria is thus the first country to recognize Palestine, followed a week later by around forty states including China, India, Turkey and most Arab countries. Next will come almost all the countries of the African continent and the Soviet bloc. Finally, mainly in 2010 and 2011, it will be the turn of most of the countries of Central America and Latin America.

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Between 1993 and 1995, Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords to try to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, establishing the Palestinian Authority (PA) as an autonomous administration in the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank. But after the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish religious extremist in 1995, negotiations between Israel and the PA bogged down, with the result that the fight for recognition of a Palestinian state was carried out without the consent of Tel Aviv.

The current Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in power for the first time in 1996, and the political figure who has spent the most years at the head of the government of Israel, is for his part opposed to the recognition of a Palestinian state.

New application for membership in the UN

Highlighting the current Israeli offensive in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority relaunched the request for membership at the beginning of April in a letter addressed to the UN Security Council. The latter must respond by the end of April to the Palestinians’ request for full membership in the United Nations, a step described as “historic” by its ambassador, Riyad Mansour.

Success, however, is more than unlikely. Indeed, it would first require a positive recommendation from the Security Council (at least nine votes in favor, without a veto from a permanent member), then a two-thirds majority vote in the General Assembly. But observers predict a veto from the United States, which had already opposed this accession in 2011. “Our position is known and has not changed,” repeated Monday the American ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, to the outcome of the first closed meeting of the “committee on the admission of new members”, an ad hoc formation of the Council.

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The United States believes that the UN is not the place for the recognition of a Palestinian state, which according to them should be the result of an agreement between the Palestinians and Israel (opposed to a two-state solution). They also highlight an American law which plans to cut funding to the UN if the Security Council accepts a Palestinian state outside of such a bilateral agreement.

The Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, virulently denounced the Palestinian request. “The Security Council is currently discussing the recognition of a Palestinian State,” he said from the podium of the General Assembly. In the event of an American veto, it would not be the first time that a request for membership in the UN would be blocked in the Security Council. The last veto dates from 1976, when the Americans blocked the entry of Vietnam, an ally of the USSR, after their defeat in the war.