Recognition: Impossible?

In recent months, seven South American nations have recognized Palestine “as a free, independent and sovereign state.”

Last week, following similar statements by representatives of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile, the Foreign Ministry of Guyana declared that its decision to recognize Palestine was based on “Guyana’s long-standing and unwavering solidarity with, and commitment to, the just and legitimate aspirations of the people of Palestine for the exercise of their right to self-determination and to achieve a homeland of their own, independent, free, prosperous and at peace.” Paraguay and Peru are expected to recognize a Palestinian state in coming weeks.

During his first official visit to Palestine a few days ago, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reaffirmed Moscow’s commitment to an independent Palestinian state. “We have supported the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital since the last century, and we still support it,” Medvedev said, speaking in the West Bank town of Jericho.

In response to these recent developments, Ha’aretz reports that “a British Foreign Office minister said Thursday that only direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations can achieve peace, adding that the U.K would not recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state.” Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Alistair Burt, while in Jordan today, said that London could not “recognize a state that does not have a capital, and doesn’t have borders.”

The irony here is striking considering Israel has no internationally recognized capital and no internationally recognized borders.

When Israel unilaterally declared independence in mid-1948, a temporary capital was set up in Tel Aviv. The April 3, 1949 armistice agreement signed between Israel and Jordan on established geographical demarcation lines which divided Jerusalem into sectors each under Israel and Jordan control with a no-man’s-land between them. On December 9, 1949, the United Nations General Assembly upheld this demarcation status. Nevertheless, in defiance of the international community, Israel soon announced that Jerusalem was its official capital. Neither the United States nor Britain, along with the majority of the rest of the world, accepted this transfer and, to this day, do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In 1980, 13 years after Israel claimed to “annex” the whole of occupied Jerusalem into Israeli territory, the Israeli government passed the so-called “Jerusalem Law” which held that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel” and that “Jerusalem is the seat of the President of the State, the Knesset, the Government and the Supreme Court.”

Following this pronouncement, a number of governments, including France and Germany, issued statements condemning the measure and, in response, the government of the Netherlands moved its Consulate General from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution (UNSC Res. 478), for which the U.K. voted in favor, stating that “the enactment of the ‘basic law’ by Israel constitutes a violation of international law.” The resolution (which passed with a 14-0 vote, with the U.S. cowardly abstaining) also denied acceptance of Israel’s decision and called upon all UN member states “that have established diplomatic missions at Jerusalem to withdraw such mission from the Holy City.”

To this day, the United Kingdom does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, maintains that Israel has no sovereignty over Jerusalem, and retains its Embassy in Tel Aviv. In fact, there are currently no international embassies in Jerusalem (though, interestingly, both Bolivia and Paraguay have their embassies in the Jerusalem suburb of Mevasseret Zion).

Furthermore, Israel, in its eternal effort to expand its territory through illegal annexation, colonization, military conquest, and land theft, has no recognized borders. In 1937, over a decade before becoming Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion stated that a Jewish state could first be established in part of Palestine in order to set the stage for further expansion. “We shall accept a state in the boundaries fixed today,” he said, “but the boundaries of Zionist aspirations are the concern of the Jewish people and no external factor will be able to limit them.” The next year, he declared, “[I am] satisfied with part of the country, but on the basis of the assumption that after we build up a strong force following the establishment of the state – we will abolish the partition of the country and we will expand to the whole Land of Israel.”

Even now, more than 70 years later, Israel’s current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, refuses to talk about establishing internationally recognized borders for the state of Israel.

Similarly, responding to his country’s recent recognition of Palestine, Gabriel Zaliasnik, president of Chile’s Jewish community, claimed he was “satisfied” with the wording of the proclamation because it did not refer to borders. “Israelis and Palestinians will eventually define all the core issues like borders,” he said. “For the Jewish people, Jerusalem and borders of the state of Israel can not be provided to third parties.”

The British government even withheld formal, de jure recognition of the state of Israel for nearly two years after its creation. On April 27, 1950, the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Lord William Henderson, legally recognized Israel in spite of the undetermined status of Jerusalem and the temporary nature of Israel’s borders, which are mentioned specifically in the statement of recognition.

Nevertheless, all these years later, despite having neither a capital nor borders, the British government still recognizes Israel as a sovereign, free, and independent state. In a blatant case of double standards, it now refuses to do so with regard to Palestine.

It appears that the shameful and duplicitous legacy of the Balfour Declaration has yet to let go its grip on the British Foreign Office.

Nima Shirazi is a writer and musician from New York City. Contact him at: wideasleepinamerica@gmail.com. Read other articles by Nima, or visit Nima's website.

5 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on January 22nd, 2011 at 9:02am #

    i have said yrs ago that neither israel nor u.s. recognizes any israel! disunited nations do recognize only one israel.
    however, such an israel is doomed. it is too tiny, surrounded by enemies, hated by much world, etc.
    it is no wonder ‘jews’ do not accept this gift! yes, ‘jews’ have earned their enemies and had them for the last century. but, how about forever? tnx

  2. MichaelKenny said on January 22nd, 2011 at 9:25am #

    Israel must be in deep trouble! Even NY musicians are being drafted in to plug the “Britain in Israel’s pocket” line. Balfour Declaration and all, which no one in Britain, least of all the Foreign Office, has ever taken seriously. The quote from Alistair Burt is cherrypicked from a Jordanian paper and is part of a statement that the British Government believes in a two-state solution, to be reached by negotiations. Logically, therefore, in his mind, the borders of the two new states to be created are not yet determined and Britain continues to recognise Israel only within its present, internationally recognised, borders i.e. excluding the territories occupied since 1967 and now being colonised. Nothing new there. More important, though, is that by insisting on a negotiated settlement, he made clear that Israel can expect no military support from Britain when its American bully collapses. Britain is not going to fight for Israel. That’s great news for the Palestinians, who have the whole Muslim world (at very least!) behind them, but bad news for Israel, who has nobody but its collapsing American bully.

  3. Rehmat said on January 22nd, 2011 at 10:40am #

    How about “Israel’s Pornographic Stimulus Plan”?

    In 2006 – Michael Lucas 37 (born as Andrei Bregman in Moscow), a Jewish-American porn actor for the last 11 years, while on visit to entertain the Israel Occupation Force (IOF), was quoted: “I will expose the reality that the people of Israel face right now, especially the gay Israelis, who are targeted by the hate of Hezbollah.” Some readers may consider it Lucas’ ignorance of the true story behind the Israeli-Hizbollah conflict – but for the Israeli Habara (propaganda) thugs – it was considered a good public relation (PR) piece. The Israelis do pride themselves for calling Tel Aviv (home to over 250 brothels) – as The Pink City.

    In 2008, during a talk at Stanford University, Lucas compared Holy Qur’an to Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

    In September 2009, Lucas was granted Israeli citizenship.

    On September 16, 2009 – Michael Lucas was honored by the oldest Jewish magazine FORWARD under the heading Pornographic Stimulus Plan: “It’s a free PR (Gay movement) for Israel and it’s much better than the PR they’re getting on the news…”

    The largest numbers of porn actors and actresses in the Jewish-American created Hollywood – are Jewish. Sasha Grey 23, has more than 150 porn movies under her belt.

  4. Ismail Zayid said on January 22nd, 2011 at 3:12pm #

    The hypocrisy and duplicity of Brittain defies words. They are the source of this long conflict since they ascribed to themselves the extraordinary act of ‘generosity’ of offering, another people’s property to other people, as they did in the infamous Balfour Declaration on Nov. 2, 1917. The renowned British historian, Prof. Arnold Toynbee, described that act of thievery accurately when he stated: ” We [the British] were taking it upon ourselves to give away something that was not our to give. We were promising rights of some kind in the Palestinian Arabs’ country to a third party.”

    Brittain was ‘generous’ to promise the Jews a national home in Palestine, and now fully recognises Israel, that has no identified borders or recognised capital, but is unwilling to recognise a Palestinian state. This is the height of audacity.

  5. jayn0t said on January 23rd, 2011 at 3:51pm #

    IZ – it’s not really ‘audacity’ for Britain to give in to Jewish power – it’s rather a lack of it. There were factions opposed to Balfour, who wanted peace with Germany, and they were right, but they were defeated. This subordination has continued – see the new Wikileaks revelation, which include British intelligence doing Israel’s dirty work, etc. –
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/palestine-papers