In his latest attempt at solidifying international legitimacy for an independent Palestinian state outside of peace negotiations, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas laid the first stone of what is set to become a Palestinian embassy in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday. The land, donated by the Brazilian government, is in the same region as other diplomatic missions and will make Brazil the first country in the Americas to host a Palestinian embassy.
Brazil is just one of four South American countries last month to officially recognize a Palestinian state within the boundaries set after the 1967 Six Day War, with the others being Argentina, Bolivia, and Ecuador. In 2011, Uruguay, Chile, and Paraguay are also expected to formally recognize a state, and Ecuador is expected to open a Palestinian embassy.
Palestinian President Abbas at a ceremony in Brazil on Friday where he laid the first stone of a future Palestinian embassy.
Over 100 countries have endorsed the creation of an independent Palestine based on the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence, a document that did not define the potential state’s borders but maintained that Jerusalem would be the capital city. Major players such as the EU, U.S., Canada, Russia, and Japan have not accepted a Palestinian state outside of peace negotiations, although some 10 EU member countries are expected to upgrade the status of their Palestinian diplomatic missions.
Rather than help the Palestinian cause, supporting the creation of an independent Palestine outside of negotiations will only harm the Palestinian people. Aside from the fact that the Hamas-Fatah rift has no end in sight, making a cohesive Palestinian state on the Gaza Strip and West Bank extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve, it has the potential to bring about a devastating war, as Israel vies for control and the PA tries to rid the West Bank of its Jewish communities, not to mention the probability that empowered Gaza militants will attack.
For the sake of holding on to any chance at creating a true and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, instead of aggravating the situation by recognizing a Palestinian state, countries should be constructive and put pressure on the Palestinians to adopt realistic positions and to continue negotiations.