News / Middle East

Palestinians Search for Alternatives as Peace Process Founders

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a news conference discussing the Mideast peace process, Athens, Dec 8, 2010
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a news conference discussing the Mideast peace process, Athens, Dec 8, 2010
Diaa Bekheet

Palestinian leaders are searching for alternative ways forward in their bid to establish a Palestinian state, following the collapse of the latest round of peace talks, this year.  One way they are trying to gain statehood is by seeking international recognition of a Palestinian state.

Ramallah has all the trappings of a national capital: government ministry buildings, monuments, an office of the president and foreign representation offices that resemble embassies.

Canada, China and Brazil are among the nations that have representative offices.

Although some are staffed by career diplomats, the offices are not considered embassies because past accords prohibit the establishment of embassies and the exercise of diplomatic functions.  

This month, the United States abandoned its demand for Israel to stop all construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a condition that the Palestinians have for returning to talks with the Israelis.

With the leverage lost, the Palestinian leadership intensified its efforts to convince as many countries as possible to recognize a Palestinian state. Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath leads the effort.  And, last week he asked European nations to recognize Palestinian sovereignty. He tells VOA the action aims to raise international pressure on Israel.  

"In a situation like the one we're in - particularly because of our decision not to go back to violence - what remains is international action. We're not going to sit on our hands and hope that something will happen from the sky," Shaath said.

Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia recognized a state of Palestine in December, joining a number of other nations that have done so in the past.  

Ligia Maria Scherer, a career diplomat who holds the rank of ambassador, heads Brazil's representation office in Ramallah.  She explains why her government recognized a Palestinian state.  

"Brazil believes that with this granting of recognition, we can contribute to peace in the region," Scherer said. "That is the objective, the purpose of everything that Brazil does concerning the question of Palestine and Israel."  

The Palestinians hope to eventually have the United Nations recognize their sovereignty.

Lobbying individual countries to grant recognition puts them on track to winning a majority of votes in the General Assembly. Their goal is to get enough support to one day win U.N. Security Council approval. Analysts say this is improbable because the United States does not support measures that Israel considers hostile.   

The Israeli government says the decision by Brazil and others to recognize a Palestinian state hurts the peace process.

Yossi Beilin is an Israeli politician who was deeply involved Israel's negotiation of the Oslo accords in the 1990's.  He doubts that achieving diplomatic recognition -- and words of support from nations with little influence in the Middle East -- will bring the Palestinians closer to having their own state.   

"I understand their frustration, but I must admit that the solution is not a very serious one," Beilin said. "Unless there is a withdrawal of Israel from the West Bank there won't be a Palestinian state there.  And, imagine that the whole world recognizes a state which doesn't exist?  So what?  Psychologically, it might help.  Politically, it might enhance the current Palestinian leadership.  But if you ask me whether this is an alternative, it is like saying, since you don't want to marry me, I will read a book."

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it remains committed to reaching a peace agreement.  However, the Israeli leadership rules out giving in to some of the Palestinians' key demands including a withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, lands formerly controlled by Jordan that were captured by Israel following its victory in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Beilin and others say that with the gap between Israelis and Palestinians as wide as it is, there is little chance of a permanent agreement under the current Israeli administration.  Israel continues to build on its settlements in the West Bank and controls a large portion of the territory that would be part of a future Palestine.

For now, the decision by some nations to give diplomatic recognition to a Palestinian state seems to remain a merely symbolic gesture.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

 

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid