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Opinion

US must rejoin international community by recognizing the state of Palestine

More than 100 nations around the world have recognized the state of Palestine. Why won't the United States? President Obama can redeem America's 'rogue' status by supporting Palestine's effort to join the United Nations later this year.

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In July 2010, the International Court of Justice held that Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence did not violate international law because international law is silent on the subject of the legality of declarations of independence. (This means that no declarations of independence violate international law and all are “legal," albeit subject to the political decisions of sovereign states to recognize or not the independence declared.) The United States responded by calling on all countries that had not already recognized Kosovo to do so promptly. Six months later, only four more have seen fit to do so – Honduras, Kiribati, Tuvalu, and Qatar.

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If the Arab League were now to call on the minority of UN member states that have not already recognized Palestine to do so promptly, it is certain that the response would be far superior (both in quantity and in quality) to the response to the recent American appeal on behalf of Kosovo. The Arab League should issue such a call for recognition.

States encompassing between 80 percent and 90 percent of the world’s population recognize the state of Palestine, while states encompassing only between 10 percent and 20 percent of the world’s population recognize the Republic of Kosovo. Notwithstanding this, the Western media (and, indeed, much of the non-Western media as well) act as though Kosovo’s independence were an accomplished fact, while Palestine’s independence is treated as an aspiration that can never be realized without Israeli-American consent. Furthermore, much of international public opinion (including, apparently, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah) has, at least until recently, permitted itself to be brainwashed into thinking and acting accordingly.

As in most aspects of international relations, it is not the nature of the act (or crime) that matters, but, rather, who is doing it to whom. Palestine was conquered and is still occupied, 43 years later, by the military forces of Israel. What most of the world (including the UN and even five EU member states) still regards as the Serbian province of Kosovo was conquered and is still occupied, 11 years later, by the military forces of NATO. The American flag is flown there at least as widely as the Kosovo flag, and the capital, Pristina, boasts a Bill Clinton Boulevard and a larger-than-life-size statue of the former American president.

Might makes right, at least in the hearts and minds of the mighty, including most Western decision-makers and opinion-formers.

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