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Sabra Express | Israel’s Ire

Reuters, May 9th, 2024

 

Recap:

Spain, Ireland, Malta, and Slovenia will consider recognizing a Palestinian state this month if the United Nations (UN) doesn’t do so first.  

 

The Context:

·      The Oslo Accords, signed in the 1990s between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), aimed at achieving a peace process and establishing a framework for Palestinian statehood. The accords led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority (PA), granting it limited self-rule in parts of the West Bank and Gaza however, the peace process fell apart following the 2nd intifada. Today, the PA barely provides basic essentials for Palestinians in the West Bank and was kicked out of Gaza after Hamas was voted into power. Hamas is now more popular than the PA in the West Bank and would win elections if they were held.

·      Palestine is a “Permanent Observer State” at the UN, which allows it to participate in proceedings, but excludes it from voting on resolutions. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is set to back a Palestinian bid to become a full UN member and urge the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to "reconsider the matter favorably [1]." 139 out of 193 UN member states recognize Palestinian statehood but to become a full UN member the 15-member UNSC must also approve its application. The US, a veto holding member of the UNSC, believes that a Palestinian state should be established through direct negotiations with Israel [2]. 

·      Spain and Ireland are the EU’s strongest supporters of Palestinian statehood and their stance during Israel’s war with Hamas has emboldened others to join in [3]. Israel says the move would amount to a “prize for terrorism” that would reduce the chances of a negotiated resolution to the conflict [4].

·      The war in Gaza erupted after Hamas’s October 7th attack, which saw 3,000 terrorists burst into Israel, killing 1,200 people, and seizing 252 hostages. Hamas has pledged to carry out massacres against Israel “again and again [6].” The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says the war has killed more than 35,000 people in Gaza, a toll that cannot be independently verified and does not differentiate between civilians and combatants. This week, Israel forged deeper into eastern Rafah to destroy Hamas’s last stronghold. The UN says that 450,000 Palestinians have since left Rafah [7].

 

Conversation Points:

·      What do those seeking to recognize Palestinian statehood believe will happen once Palestine is recognized?

·      Will the UN recognize Hamas as the legitimate leader of a Palestinian state if that’s the will of the people?

·      Will recognizing a Palestinian state encourage Palestinians to seek peace and stability with Israel?

·      Why should a Palestinian state be established through negotiations with Israel rather than a UN motion?

 

Notes:

3.     How Spain and Ireland became the EU’s sharpest critics of Israel, Sam Jones, Rory Carroll, Lisa O'Carroll, The Guardian, April 5th, 2024

6.     Ibid.

7.     Israeli tanks move deeper into Rafah, Palestinians say, as 450,000 flee, EMANUEL FABIAN, Times of Israel, 14 May 2024

 

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