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Demonstrators march at a rally held by the Boston Coalition for Palestine, calling for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., December 17, 2023. REUTERS/Reba Saldanha


What does international recognition mean for the Palestinian State?

Amidst escalating threats from Israeli officials, Spain, Norway, and Ireland have officially recognized the State of Palestine, following their earlier expressions of support for Palestinian statehood.

While this decision has garnered widespread praise, the establishment of a Palestinian state remains a complex and lengthy process involving numerous challenges.

Typically, when one state recognizes another, it leads to the establishment of full diplomatic relations, including defining specific borders and exchanging ambassadors.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced that Spain would recognize the Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Much of the Palestinian territory, however, remains under Israeli occupation.

Experts hope that the recognition by Ireland, Norway, and Spain will encourage other countries to follow suit, potentially advancing the Palestinian struggle for rights under Israeli occupation. Conversely, some argue that such recognitions are largely symbolic with limited diplomatic impact.

The majority of Norwegians have welcomed their government’s decision to officially recognize Palestine as a sovereign state. Like Madrid and Dublin, Oslo announced it would move from words to action.

Historical Context and Expert Opinions

Since Yasser Arafat, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), declared Palestine an independent state on November 15, 1988, over a hundred countries have recognized it. The Oslo Accords, agreements signed between the PLO and Israel in the 1990s, were intended to pave the way for a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Steve Zipperstein, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Santa Barbara, emphasizes that recognition alone cannot resolve the conflict or grant Palestinians a country unless the issues identified in the Oslo Accords are addressed.

“Most observers believe premature recognition will do nothing to further the cause of peace. Much hard work remains to be done at the negotiating table between Israelis and Palestinians regarding the permanent status issues identified in the Oslo Accords,” he told TRT World.

The seven ‘permanent status issues’ under the accords include the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations with neighboring countries, and other matters of common interest.

The Oslo Accords required the PLO to recognize Israel but did not obligate Israel to recognize the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.


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