Aznar speaks in Israel. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi /Flash90) Aznar speaks in Israel. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi /Flash90)

Former Spanish PM criticized European nations that have recognized a non-existent Palestinian state, saying the move endangers the peace process and the region.    

Jose Maria Aznar, Spain’s former prime minister, stated that recognition by European countries of a Palestinian state at this time thwarts any hopes for a real peace agreement and called it “a huge mistake.”

“The Palestinian state doesn’t exist yet and the only structures in place that may resemble a functioning state are controlled by the internationally designated terrorist group Hamas. Europe had been resisting the urge to recognize an entity that doesn’t exist in real terms. Unfortunately, some Europeans are today indulging in a ‘recognition now’ policy,” Aznar wrote in an op-ed for the LA Times. “Feel-good statements, popular as they may be, will not change reality on the ground; they will, rather, encourage the [Palestinian] Authority to continue a static strategy in the negotiations – thereby promoting a continued stalemate of the talks.”

Recognition – A Destructive and Dangerous Urge

Aznar stipulates that this “urge” is a destructive one.

“No matter how well-intentioned these initiatives may be, recognizing Palestine as a state now is inappropriate, counterproductive and unwarranted. It will not promote peace, it will not boost a negotiated solution, and it will reward the Palestinian Authority’s unilateral moves,” he stated.

Aznar believes that these diplomatic moves are not only a tactical mistake, but may prove dangerous as well. “Actually, moving the political and strategic focus away from the threat of jihadism to deal with a fantasy is a grave irresponsibility,” he stated.

Aznar pointed out that Israel has made difficult and painful concessions for peace, and yet the Jewish state is most under pressure by the European countries. “These initiatives unfairly put pressure only on Israel,” he explained. “The Jewish state is persistently offering painful concessions to achieve a lasting and fair agreement, only to see the [Palestinian] Authority refuse any compromise for the advancement of peace. It was [PA leader] Mahmoud Abbas who failed to accept the recent U.S. framework document already accepted by Israel.”

A Reward to Palestinian Unwillingness

“If we want to have a democratic, free, peaceful and prosperous Palestinian state alongside Israel, recognizing now an entity that is far from democratic, free, peaceful and prosperous will only thwart any possibility that any such state will exist in the future,” Aznar warned.

“Recognizing Palestine as a state in the face of Mr. Abbas’s obstructionist behavior, Hamas’s attacks on Israel and the present situation in the Middle East is detrimental for peace since it will reward Palestinian unwillingness to negotiate a true peace with Israel and will encourage unilateral moves and a break with the Oslo Accords. Thus, we call on all responsible leaders of free nations to reject unilateral moves that only reward one side.”

Aznar’s call comes in the wake of the Swedish government’s announcement that it will recognize a Palestine state to promote a negotiated two-state solution and after the British Parliament voted in October to recognize the non-existent state.

Author: United with Israel Staff
(With files from the LA Times)