Monday, December 6, 2010

Rightful Decision

This Editorial was published in the Jordan Times on 7/12/2010

Brazil took the brave step of recognising a Palestinian state in the West Bank, a move lauded by the Palestinians but met with “disappointment” by Israel.

A month before handing over presidency to the newly elected president, Brazilian head of state Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva took the decision “in response to a personal appeal by de facto Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on November 24”. It is, the message from Brazil said, a just request, “in harmony with the principles pursued by Brazil in dealing with the Palestine question”.

The recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders could, and should, open the door for more states to do so. Over 100 countries have already recognised the Palestinian state, but the US and most Western governments have yet to do so.

Brazil’s decision could be attributed to the international community’s increased frustration with Israel’s intransigence and foot dragging on reaching a solution with its Arab neighbours, particularly the Palestinians.

The US admitted having failed to secure an extension of Israeli settlement freeze, but would not admit to the death of peace moves. American congressmen strongly condemned the Brazilian decision, claiming that it was against peace and security in the Middle East, a baffling assertion, indeed. How could granting a people its rights - and thus putting off for good the fire of discontent and conflict - be against peace and security?

Such warped thinking is clearly not going to applaud da Silva’s just decision, but it might just open the eyes of the world to the myth the US is trying to perpetuate: that it is an impartial arbitrator in the decades-old conflict in our region.

Abbas has recently hinted that he may have to dissolve the Palestinian Authority if Israel continues on its present course, especially with regard to settlement enlargement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in defiance of international law.

Should he take such a step, the burden of governing the West Bank would fall squarely on Israel. The latter should decide whether it wants further deterioration of its relations with the Palestinians or to arrive at a peace from which all can benefit.

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