Hope up in the air as Palestine garners recognition

Alwaght- Nine EU members – the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta, Cyprus and Sweden – have so far recognized Palestine as an independent state while Greece gets ready to join the bandwagon. 

While the Palestinian president has expressed pride in the Greek parliament, whose relations with the Israeli regime have been strengthening in recent years, naming it “the sanctuary of democracy”, Mahmoud Abbas may have been exaggerating when he said the vote would “contribute to the creation of a Palestinian state”.

PA or Palestine?

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras — who had earlier mistakenly described Jerusalem (al-Quds) as the historic capital of the Israeli regime — has said that Athens will no longer refer to Palestine on official documents as the Palestinian Authority. While this move has weighty significance for the people of Palestine, it is what complements the verbal respect that this change offers with action that counts most.

Can Greece, and other EU states, that have already recognized Palestine, live up to expectations of substantial change to the status of Palestine on the international political arena?

The answer is simply “No”, because the entire trend of voting to recognize Palestine is a poor bid to feign this acknowledgement through bills that will eventually amount to little substantive effects.

Is it a matter of quantity?

Greece has yet to finalize the vote but if and when it does, its recognition would be added to the 130 or so list of countries that have recognized Palestine.

However, even with France and Britain on the list, this large number comes close to having little consequence on the Palestinians’ future as an independent sovereign state without the United States’ recognition.

Washington will recognize Palestine as an independent state and drop the “authority” from its denotation, as the Palestinian idiom says “when salt glows.”

It is highly unlikely that the US, the Israeli regime’s closest ally, would undertake such a move knowing that its recognition could open doors for the Palestinians and thus anger their Israeli friends.

While some see this recognition as baby steps toward possibility others believe they will only end with improbability.

Taking the statehood bid at the UN as an example, which called for an end to Israeli occupation and independence by 2017, the US used its veto power to block the resolution describing it as counterproductive and one-sided. Similarly, the US would not approve of recognizing Palestine because it would be “counterproductive” to Israeli plots in the region.

What do the Israelis say?

The Israelis reacted to the recent Greek vote by dubbing Palestinian efforts to be recognized as meaningless.

“The Palestinians and Abu Mazen continue to choose the unilateral path to obtain recognition which has no meaning in practice,” said deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely.

But long before, Tel Aviv has been dealing with the consecutive recognition with two-approaches: one is belittling their symbolic significance and another by warning that Abbass’s bid will prove to be detrimental to the so-called peace process.

Is there hope?

On September 30th, the Palestinian flag was raised for the first time at the UN headquarters in New York after the general assembly accorded Palestine non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations.

Abu Mazen then said that the world faced “the last chance” to save the long protracted two-State solution, adding:  “the window of opportunity is narrowing and time is quickly running out”.

The symbolic gesture filled some Palestinians with hope although there was little hope for being recognized as a country. Others, who remain skeptical of such symbolic moves with no tangible or foreseeable effects, thought hope was up in the air. The belief that acts that appear to be in favor of Palestine on a superficial level benefit the Israeli regime, one way or another, is out there. At the same time, even the US-funded PA is thought to be acting against the interests of the Palestinian people whose rights will only be retrieved through the complete end of the occupation and not through a so-called two-state solution.

By Alwaght