In rapid succession, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay have officially recognized a free and independent Palestinian state, adding an unexpected twist to the U.S.-backed push for Middle East peace. The South American neighbors said that the Palestinian state should be based on the borders of the West Bank and Gaza before Israel took control of the territories in the 1967 Six-Day War. Palestinians welcomed the news, Israel called it "regrettable," and the U.S. said it could be a "counterproductive" distraction from peace negotiations. The diplomatic recognition has no immediate concrete impact — so why are these Latin American governments making the move now?
They want to pressure Israel and let the Palestinians off the hook: "While Brazil and Argentina's steps are largely symbolic for now," says Sarah Miller Llana in The Christian Science Monitor, if enough countries endorse a Palestinian state along pre-1967 borders, "Israel's position in East Jerusalem and the West Bank — already viewed as illegally occupied by most U.N. members — would become less tenable." Another worry for Israel: The more allies the Palestinians make, the less likely they are to budge on the question of borders.
"Argentina latest in Latin America to recognize Palestinian state"
They want to broaden support for the Palestinians: "Contrary to Israeli-U.S. talking points," says Jeremy Sapienza at AntiWar.com, "this does not undermine peace, which despite decades of expensive blather was never really on the table." This move forces talks "onto a new plane," by showing that Muslim countries aren't the only ones who care about the Palestinians. "Israel can either try and probably fail to continue to buy the world’s support for its occupation," or do everyone a favor by "cutting its losses and making the situation right."
"Why Argentina's Palestine recognition matters"
The message is clear — step aside, Washington: "The peace process hangs by a thread and [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu's administration is unwilling, or perhaps unable, to reach a reasonable deal," say the editors of United Arab Emirates publication The National. Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay are just trying to stir things up and tell the U.S. that if it's "unwilling to apply the necessary pressure" to get Israel moving, steps like this might be "necessary to move beyond intransigence."
"The peace process is not captive to Israeli intransigence"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- Pope Francis' American problem
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- A brief history of the Christmas present
- Vox, derp, and the intellectual stagnation of the left
- 10 things you need to know today: December 20, 2014
Subscribe to the Week