- On October 14, 2014, Britain’s House of Commons voted in favor of a non-binding motion stating that the government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the State of Israel.
- On October 30, Sweden became the first West European EU state to recognize a Palestinian state.
- On November 18, the Spanish parliament’s lower house voted almost unanimously to adopt a motion urging the Spanish government to recognize Palestine as a state.
- A parliamentary motion is reportedly being prepared in France calling on the government to recognize Palestine as a state.
- On November 25, the European Union decided to postpone to next month a vote on a resolution recognizing a Palestinian state.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated that "To accord, as some European countries have, recognition to a Palestinian state without demanding an equal recognition on their part to the nation-state of the Jewish people is irresponsible. To give recognition to a Palestinian state that doesn’t either recognize the Jewish state or agrees to security arrangements that are necessary for its security and survival is irresponsible."
Foreign Minister Liberman had stated that such unfortunate decisions serve to strengthen radical elements and Palestinian recalcitrance, bolstering the Palestinians’ unrealistic demands and delaying an agreement.
Against the background of these events, it should be re-emphasized that the only process that can lead to lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians is direct negotiations. While Israel remains committed to this process, the Palestinians continue to attempt to bypass direct negotiations.
For years, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has conducted an international campaign designed to achieve Palestinian goals without having to make any of the compromises necessary for peace:
The Palestinian campaign, which is aimed at forcing their positions on Israel through third-party pressure, is implemented in international institutions, including the UN. It includes the November 2012 UN General Assembly vote on Non-Member State status and the PA’s accession to international conventions. At the same time, the PA is seeking bilateral recognition of a Palestinian state by third parties, particularly in Europe.
The premature recognition of a Palestinian state will harm chances for peace as it:
- Disregards the importance of reaching a solution that serves the interest of all sides to the conflict.
- Allows the Palestinians to ignore Israel’s legitimate concerns, especially in regard to security issues and the need to recognize the right of Israel to exist as the national homeland of the Jewish people.
- Does not take into account the complicated key permanent status issues (including borders, security, water and refugees) that can only be settled by agreement between the parties.
- Rewards the PA – at a time of heightened terrorism and official incitement – for choosing Hamas as its partner in government and fails to dissuade Hamas and other Palestinian factions from using violence and terrorism to advance their agenda.
- Endorses the establishment of a state based on violence, terrorism and animosity towards Israel, which can only lead to future conflicts.
- Erodes the already damaged trust between the two sides and undermines Israeli trust in relevant third parties.
The PA currently fails to meet the long-established legal criteria for statehood, particularly the test of effective government. The PA does not have effective control over most of the West Bank and no effective control of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Israel, which has a proven track record of making strategic concessions for peace, remains ready to engage in direct negotiations to resolve all outstanding issues. However, it is unreasonable to expect Israel to take great risks and make painful concessions while the PA is actively undermining the very process of negotiations.