What does it mean for Colombia to have recognized Palestine as a State?

Colombia could lead all of Latin America peace between Israel and Palestine

What does it mean for Colombia to have recognized Palestine as a State?

The two letters sent by Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín to the Secretary-General of the UN and to the Palestinian Foreign Minister on August 3 - four days before Ivan Duque's inauguration as the new president of Colombia- in which the Government Santos recognized Palestine as a State, means a great advance in foreign policy matters. In addition, an excellent opportunity that would allow leaving Colombia as a leader in an eventual joint work developed by Latin America in search of peace in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Leer en español: ¿Qué representa para Colombia el haber reconocido a Palestina como Estado?

Hence, the question arises: how many countries in Latin America have recognized Palestine as a state to this day? The first to do so were Paraguay, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, and Chile. Then, it was decided by Peru, Uruguay, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Colombia, according to El País de Cali. The only ones missing are Panama and Mexico, which, although it has not yet recognized Palestine as a State, in 2012, voted in favor of Palestine elevating its status in the UN and passing from "observer entity" to "non-member observer State", says El Universal de México. The incoming government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador is expected to announce its recognition of Palestine.

And since 1990, the Latin American states, after adjusting their foreign policy to the context of the cold war, have been normalizing their relationship with Israel and Palestine with the aim of achieving a solution to the conflict between the two, led by Brazil, as detailed in an article entitled "Latin America and the Palestinian Question" of the Iberoamerican Journal of Philosophy, Politics and Humanities, Araucaria. In addition, he adds that, "although the role of Latin America was never substantial in serving as a mediator for the solution of the conflict, the centrality of the issue in the United Nations and the race to diversify alliances between Israel and Palestine, the Latin American States were regularly called to take sides ".

The current panorama of the conflict between Palestine and Israel is not the best. Due to the decision of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and, additionally, to execute the transfer of the embassy of his country to that city, the only thing he did was to go against " a rule of well-established international law that stipulates that states should not recognize the fruits of conquest ", as highlighted by the Palestine Studies Institute. It was a severe blow to the peace process that is sought between Israel and Palestine.

Historically, the conflict, which comes from the colonial period and the rise of nationalist movements in Europe and the Middle East, erupted after the Second World War when "the United Nations in resolution 181 of November 1947 proposed to create two States, one Arab-Palestinian and one Jewish. This plan was rejected by the Arabs because it legalized, in their eyes, the plans and colonies established by the Jews-Zionists," recounts Palestina Libre organization.

Already in 1948, the Jewish community declares the State of Israel, "which triggered the military intervention of the neighboring Arab states in support of the Palestinians. As a result of this first Arab-Israeli war, the Jewish State not only resisted the Arab intervention, but it caused the exit of a great part of the Palestinian population that was in its territory and extended the surface of its territory beyond the foreseen in the partition plan," adds Palestina Libre organization.

Years later, in 1967, the 6-day war would arrive, in which Israel takes control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the eastern part of Jerusalem, "where the Arab-Palestinian population has been targeted," according to Palestina Libre. Since 2000, 9,500 Palestinians have died, according to the newspaper La Vanguardia.

To achieve peace between Israel and Palestine, Latin America could well engage in peace dialogues, led by Colombia, because the contributions it could provide, thanks to the experience it gained from ending an armed conflict of more than 50 years with the FARC, would be useful at the moment of negotiation between the two States.

But what does Israel propose to make peace with Palestine? The proposal expressed to several international media by the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to achieve an advance that leads to peace, is for Palestine to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. What is the problem? The drawback that appears is that Jerusalem, a city as sacred to Jews as it is to Muslims and Christians, is divided. West Jerusalem is located in Israel and the East in Palestine, which would leave Palestine without its sacred territory in case it accepts Israel's request.

As for Colombia, in matters of foreign policy, it benefited him a lot in terms of human rights to recognize Palestine as a State, because as has been mentioned, Israel historically is the oppressor and Palestine the oppressed, so the message of Colombia was Of course: we are with the victims, not the victimizers.

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What does Palestine meet to be considered a State? According to the criteria of the Montevideo Convention, "the territory of a state in international law does not require continuity", what seen in the fragmentation that Palestine suffers does not mean a problem. Second, it says that "a state has no obligation to have declared borders," something that is currently happening in Palestine.

For the moment, the government of Iván Duque has the challenge of maintaining the decision made by the Santos Government and joining the rest of the Latin American countries that support Palestine. Otherwise, the road to a stable and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine will be difficult to achieve and the opportunity for Colombia to position itself as a leading country in resolving conflicts before the world will be lost.


LatinAmerican Post | Editorial Team

Translated from: '¿Qué representa para Colombia el haber reconocido a Palestina como Estado?'