Recognition of the Palestinian State: the “miracle solution” of Spanish foreign policy in the Middle East |  International

Recognition of the Palestinian State: the “miracle solution” of Spanish foreign policy in the Middle East | International

Recognition of the Palestinian State: the “miracle solution” of Spanish foreign policy in the Middle East |  International

“Recognition of the Palestinian state is like a miracle solution: it can only be done once,” says a senior diplomatic source. Nobody doubts that Spain will do it, the question is when and how. “Nothing is simpler: an agreement in the Council of Ministers is enough. Any Tuesday, after the Council of Ministers, the minister’s spokesperson could announce it at the La Moncloa press conference. It would not even be necessary to consult Congress, since there is a unanimous agreement from 2014 that urges the Executive Branch to take this step. But that, on the pitch, would have had no effect and the ball would have been wasted.” Even from a diplomatic point of view, it wouldn’t change much. In September of 2010, the Gobierno elevated the rank of the Palestinian representation in Madrid, which passed to denominarse my diplomatic mission, approved by the Estado: I have my trade of embajador, presented letters of credentials to Rey and formed part of the accredited diplomatic corps to Madrid.

The government’s ideal goal is for this recognition to serve to promote the two-state solution and to be adopted as part of a peace conference that will result in an agreement on the territory and capital of the new Palestinian entity which, according to the International Law Council, it should be East Jerusalem. Spanish President Pedro Sánchez promised in his inauguration speech last November: “The new government will work so that Europe, and of course Spain, recognizes the Palestinian state. »

Aware that this objective does not seem realistic, the government wishes to avoid recognition like that which Sweden obtained in 2014, while no other country followed. If en bloc recognition by the EU is not possible, the government wishes to bring together at least a group of countries with sufficient critical mass for this action to have an international impact. With this objective, Spanish diplomacy has long maintained a discreet dialogue with the European states most inclined to take this step (Belgium, Ireland, Portugal and Luxembourg), which seek to reach an agreement between them.

A test of what could happen with this issue is the debate over imposing sanctions against violent Israeli settlers in the West Bank. After Hungary blocked the adoption of sanctions by the EU, Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares announced this week that Spain would impose them unilaterally. This is a symbolic measure – it will probably be limited to denying them a visa to enter Spain – and not very controversial, since Israel’s close allies, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, have been the first to impose them: and other European countries, such as France and Belgium, followed them. It will, however, show the way for a group of countries to move forward on their own in a more active policy towards the Middle East, overcoming the paralysis of the EU.

One way or another, all sources consulted assume that Spain will recognize the Palestinian state in this legislature. And this because in addition to its international dimension, there is a national political aspect: Palestine has a high symbolic value for the left electorate and Pedro Sánchez cannot waste this asset.

Of the 193 UN member countries, 138 already recognize Palestine as a state, in addition to another non-member observer state: the Vatican. Much of it belongs to the global south – Africa, Asia and Latin America – with the exception of some EU members, such as Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, which made in 1988, before the dissolution of the European Union. the Warsaw Pact and its entry into the Union. The only country to have recognized the Palestinian state after joining the EU is Sweden. Among these 139 countries, nine are part of the G20: China, Russia, India, Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, Argentina and Saudi Arabia.

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The search for recognition as a state was one of the strategies of the Palestinians to break the impasse in which they found themselves after the Oslo Accords, signed between 1993 and 1995. These agreements did not lead to the creation of a Palestinian state and Israel accelerated construction. in the colonies. In 1993, 285,000 Israeli settlers lived in illegal settlements in the West Bank. Today, there are at least 700,000, according to the UN.

Haizam Amirah Fernández, senior researcher on the Mediterranean and the Arab world at the Royal Elcano Institute, believes that the process that led to these agreements was “the formula for disaster that brought us to where we are”, with which we should “break,” and considers that recognition of the Palestinian state would serve to take a step in this direction, “changing the framework of relations between the opposing parties and partially balancing their positions.” This expert adds that this recognition alone is not enough and should be accompanied by the creation of “state institutions” in Palestine by the international community so as not to remain a simple “symbolic act”.

An important milestone at the UN

In September 2011, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submitted a request for membership in the UN, a goal thwarted by the threat of a US veto in the Security Council. The Palestine Liberation Organization then chose to request non-member observer state status, which it obtained in 2012 at the UN General Assembly, with 138 votes in favor, 41 abstentions and nine votes against. , including those of Israel and the United States. An important step in “Palestine’s important international political strategy to obtain recognition as a state,” underlines Ana Manero, professor of public international law at the Carlos III University of Madrid.

Spain voted in favor. Mariano Rajoy’s government later clarified that it would not unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state because to be viable, it had to be the result of an agreement with Israel.

This idea, central in official Israeli discourse, then generated a consensus in the West, but the Hamas attack, with its 1,200 deaths, and Israel’s war in Gaza, during which around 30,000 people died , according to the respective data of the two parties, broke with this unanimity which contributed to perpetuating the status quo.

“The consequence of the recognition of a Palestinian state by Spain would be fundamentally political, given that it is not a constitutive act of a state entity,” underlines Manero. The professor emphasizes that Israeli policies such as settlement expansion make it impossible for a Palestinian state, under current conditions, to have the state attributes of “control of territory, government, population and sovereignty.” Recognition by a significant number of countries would, however, give “Palestine more strength in a negotiation,” specifies the expert.

Amirah Fernández does not find the precedent of Sweden’s recognition of the Palestinian state and its limited impact relevant: “The context of 2014 has nothing to do with that of 2024.” The war in Gaza has significantly reduced support to Israel, particularly from the countries of the South, and the researcher from the Royal Elcano Institute recalls how the International Court of Justice warned of “plausible signs of genocide” committed by Israel in Gaza. In this context, recognition could be “a further step towards a much more elaborate solution framework, necessary for there to be two States in the future”. The alternative to this path, he asserts, “is called aside (in Palestine).

What seems significant is that the Israeli government is totally opposed to other countries, particularly Western ones, recognizing a Palestinian state. On Wednesday, the Israeli Parliament approved, by a majority of 99 of the 120 deputies, a resolution which rejects that the international community “unilaterally dictates the creation of a Palestinian state”, declared Benjamin Netanyahu, promoter of the text. The Israeli Prime Minister is now trying to guarantee his political survival by presenting himself as the only one who can avoid this eventuality.

Despite this, historian and professor at the University of Valencia Jorge Ramos Tolosa does not believe that Spanish recognition of Palestine as a state would undermine the Israeli position. He considers this as “symbolic support”, whereas what is now necessary, according to him, is “to stop the genocide”. And he pleads for this so that “the world stops being complicit with Israel. What Spain must do is stop selling and buying weapons from this country and sever bilateral relations.”

Palestinian Taher Ali, member of the Solidarity Network Against the Occupation of Palestine (RESCOP), shares this analysis. He asserts that “the only thing that could contribute to a solution would be for the international community to impose a total economic blockade on Israel.”

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