Last week Sweden became the first major European Nation to recognize the Palestinian State. There is reason to believe that their move could be the beginning of a change in attitude around the world. The latest change in the situation was a bit of a surprise. Former Israeli brass are lobbying for peace.
In a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 105 retired generals and intelligence chiefs supported negotiations with Palestinian authorities to obtain a permanent peace agreement.
All 105 expressed doubts regarding Netanyahu’s leadership; his unwillingness to engage in dialogue with his Palestinian counterparts and fear that he will rush to war, placing another generation of Israelis in harm’s way.
This letter was delivered one week after Netanyahu announce plans to build 1,000 more homes on land presently occupied by Palestinians.
Last month Great Britain took action which indicates increased support of a Palestinian State, and a move away from the iron clad positions of the United States and Israel. By a vote 274-12 the House of Commons urged Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron to recognize Palestine.
Not unexpected, the vote caused an uproar in Jewish communities. Some claimed that it was an anti-Semitic move joining Denmark, France, Norway and Hungary.
On November 29, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted to grant ‘non-member observer state status to Palestine.’ Nine nations voted against the move, including the United States and Israel. There were 41 abstentions.
Recognition of a Palestinian Statehood and full membership in the United Nations has not become a reality. However, there appears to be a ground swell of changing attitudes, as demonstrated by Sweden; other European countries are expected to follow their lead.
Netanyahu was elected to a third term as Prime Minister in 2013. The citizens of Israel are said to believe that he is a strong leader whose prime concern is the people of their nation. The rest of the world has questions. There is no doubt that he has his nation well-prepared for war, but is he prepared for peace? His negotiations with Palestinian leaders are frequently short-lived. Does he have the patience and foresight to complete the grueling process of peace talks?
In May of 2011 Mahmoud Abbas authored an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times. Mr. Abbas is the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization as well as the president of the Palestinian National Authority.
He says that recognition of the State of Palestine is long overdue. In 1947 the United Nations General Assembly voted to split the contested area into two states. After an ensuing war between Arabs and Jews, Israel declared itself a State in 1948. Many nations recognized the state of Israel immediately, including the United States. Palestine continues to wait.
Peace in the region will not come without sacrifice on both sides. For many U.S. politicians Israel is a ‘sacred cow;’ the primary reason is the vast number of Jewish residents in their voting districts.
The discussion of Palestinian Statehood is one of the most contentious in the world. One of the prime obstacles involves the fact that Hamas, a terrorist organization supports Palestine. Equally questioned are national borders. Palestine wants Israel to retreat to the land they occupied in 1967, while Israel continues to extend its boundaries and build communities.
By James Turnage