In a public letter addressed to Palestinian President on Friday, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has advised that Brazil recognises Palestine as an independent state within the 1967 borders.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry has expressed “sadness and disappointment” at the Brazilian decision, saying that every attempt to bypass the 2003 Roadmap towards Middle East “only harms trust between the sides, and hurts their commitment to the agreed framework of negotiating towards peace."
Given that the Americans have advised the Palestinians that their efforts to secure a new settlement freeze have failed, there is not a lot of trust around, and one would have to laugh at any suggestion that the current Israeli has any interest in any outcome other than full control of Greater Israel.
I have long regarded the insistence by the international community that Palestinian statehood had to be achieved by negotiation with the Israelis as conferring to Israel a veto over that outcome, and in the case of both Israel and the United States I would say that was the whole idea. It is and has always been a recipe for going through the motions for the benefit of sections of the Western public, while ensuring that the destination could never be reached.
I regard this crack in the wall as a momentous event, a view which I am tempted to regard as being confirmed by the deafening silence from the Western media. It is reported by Al Jazeera here and by AFP here, but there is not a lot else at this stage.
Not everyone in Israel will be unhappy. In Zvi Bar’el on the Palestinian state on 14 November I reported that Zvi Bar’el, Middle Eastern affairs analyst for Ha’aretz Newspaper, had commented that international recognition of a Palestinian state could shake the peace process and extricate it from the stranglehold in which Palestine and Israel are caught.
I think that to put any future negotiations on the footing that they take place between two states of equal status can only be for the good. It probably represents the only, albeit slender, hope of a settlement.