Radical Proposition in the Mideast: Should the U.S. Recognize Palestine as a State Now?

Published: May. 4, 2024
Ron Edmonds/AP

In 1993, under the watch of U.S. President Bill Clinton, a peace accord was signed at the White House. This historic event involved two key figures: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. After decades of conflict, these two sides sought to negotiate a deal towards a resolution - but no agreement was reached. Now, a new proposition has emerged, hinting at a potentially revolutionary approach...

Fast forward to the present day, discussions are taking place about the premature recognition of a Palestinian state with negotiations on intricate details to be carried out later. This method was reminiscent of when the US recognized the freshly declared statehood of Israel in 1948. American President Harry Truman expressed his endorsement a mere 11 minutes after Israel's declaration, despite countless unanswered questions and the imminent threat of war with multiple Arab states.

In recent times, the similar approach of unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood has been broached, despite it being known as a highly unlikely move. Esteemed figures, such as British Foreign Secretary David Cameron, have proposed the possibility albeit, in the later stages of the negotiation process. This recognition may offer the Palestinian people the prospect of a brighter future. Is this the push needed towards a peaceful resolution?

Whether recognition by a Western power, particularly the U.S, would impact the progression toward peace is a point of debate. Professor Ali Jarbawi, of the political science department at Birzeit University, asserts that it’s of paramount importance, especially to put pressure on Israel. He believes the one-sided nature of past negotiations have heavily favored Israel. The recognition of a Palestinian state could alter this imbalance.

However, this proposition has faced staunch opposition, particularly from the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Other counterarguments originate from the Israeli public and high-ranking officials who believe that talks of Palestinian statehood are premature. The future remains uncertain – will the potential recognition by the West, particularly the U.S, bring about the much needed change?

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