Recognizing a Palestinian State Now Will Thwart Hopes for Peace

(The Sunday Times-UK) Jose Maria Aznar - The Palestinian state doesn't exist yet and the only structures in place that may resemble a functioning state are controlled by the internationally designated terrorist group Hamas. Europe had been resisting the urge to recognize an entity that doesn't exist in real terms. Unfortunately some Europeans are today indulging in a "recognition now" policy. No matter how well-intentioned these initiatives may be, recognizing Palestine as a state now is inappropriate, counterproductive and unwarranted. It will not promote peace, it will not boost a negotiated solution, and it will reward the Palestinian Authority's unilateral moves. Actually, moving the political and strategic focus away from the threat of jihadism to deal with a fantasy is a grave irresponsibility. Feel-good statements, popular as they may be, will not change reality on the ground; they will rather encourage the Authority to continue a static strategy in the negotiations - thereby promoting a continued stalemate of the talks. These initiatives unfairly put pressure only on Israel. The Jewish state is persistently offering painful concessions to achieve a lasting and fair agreement, only to see the Authority refuse any compromise for the advancement of peace. It was Mahmoud Abbas who failed to accept the recent U.S. framework document already accepted by Israel. Israel is today a bulwark against the expansion of jihadism in the Middle East. Promoting initiatives to recognize an imagined Palestinian state represents a huge mistake, considering how much Western countries need the support of Israel against jihadism and nuclear proliferation. The Friends of Israel Initiative has always claimed that peace can only be reached through negotiations. Recognizing Palestine as a state will reward Palestinian unwillingness to negotiate a true peace with Israel and will encourage unilateral moves and a break with the Oslo Accords. Recognizing now an entity that is far from democratic, free, peaceful and prosperous will only thwart any possibility that any such state will exist in the future. Jose Maria Aznar is a former prime minister of Spain and founder of the Friends of Israel Initiative. This article is also signed by: John R. Bolton, former U.S. representative to the UN; Giulio Terzi, former foreign minister of Italy; Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico; Alejandro Toledo, former president of Peru; Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan; George Weigel, senior fellow of the U.S. Ethics and Public Policy Center; Andrew Roberts, British historian; Roberto F. Agostinelli, founder of the Rhone Group; Lt.-Col. Allen B. West, former U.S. congressman; Carlos Alberto Montaner, exiled Cuban author and journalist; Carlos Bustelo, former industry minister of Spain; Fiamma Nirenstein, journalist, former member of the Italian parliament; Rafael L. Bardaji, executive director, Friends of Israel Initiative, former strategic adviser, Spain.

2014-10-27 00:00:00

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