But, of course, the EU Must Recognize Palestine. The alternative is more drastic

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL December 30, 2019

Resilience in the face of loss. A Palestinian boy sits on a chair as Israeli bulldozers demolish a school site in the village of Yatta, south of Hebron in 2018 (AFP)

With the US steadily working with Israel to obliterate hopes for a two-state solution, Daoud Kuttab, an award-winning Palestinian journalist, has suggested we are at a fork in the road.

Writing in Project Syndicate, Mr Kuttab said, “If European leaders – or, indeed, any others around the world – want to advance a vision of an independent Palestinian state alongside an Israeli one, they have only two choices: officially recognize Palestine as an independent state or stop recognizing Israel as one until it proves it is serious about reaching a negotiated solution.”

Both are pretty serious choices, but to me the more drastic is the second one. It would be easier – and less polarising in some ways – to officially recognise Palestine rather than to stop recognising Israel.

One has to wonder what’s holding up recognition of Palestine. As Mr Kuttab points out, most European parliaments have already voted in favour of recognizing Palestine as an independent state along the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

However, only Sweden has followed through with action. The EU has advised everyone else to wait, as Mr Kuttab puts it, “for the perfect opportunity to arise – the moment when a unified decision to recognize Palestine could have a real impact.”

Mr Kuttab says “now is that moment”, but I would argue that there will never be the right moment and the EU should just go ahead and do the right thing.

It won’t mean an actual Palestinian state, but it might discourage further settlements-building and expansion or even the annexation of Palestinian territory.

Anytime is a good time to do the right thing.