Published: 19:22, May 23, 2024 | Updated: 21:31, May 23, 2024
Recognition of Palestine needs further moves to ensure ‘real change’
By Jan Yumul in Hong Kong

A Palestinian boy stands on the rubble of a destroyed house in Nuseirat following Israeli bombardment overnight on May 23, 2024, amid continuing battles between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (PHOTO / AFP)

The significance of Norway, Ireland, and Spain coming forward to recognize the state of Palestine needs to be backed up with concrete actions to affect “real change” for Palestinians and other refugees, analysts said.

Abdul Wahed Jalal Nori, an analyst and lecturer at the Department of Fundamental and Inter-Disciplinary Studies at the International Islamic University Malaysia, called the decision by the three European countries “a significant political move”.

Abdul Wahed said concrete actions include increased economic assistance, humanitarian support, trade facilitation, capacity building, advocacy for human rights, active mediation in peace efforts, and legal support in international forums

It “enhances international legitimacy” and increases diplomatic pressure on Israel, reinforcing support for a two-state solution, he told China Daily.

However, this must be coupled with concrete action to bring about real change on the ground, he said.

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Abdul Wahed said concrete actions include increased economic assistance, humanitarian support, trade facilitation, capacity building, advocacy for human rights, active mediation in peace efforts, and legal support in international forums.

“These combined efforts can improve living conditions, foster stability, and advance peace for Palestinians,” Abdul Wahed said.

“If major players, including China and Russia, also recognize the State of Palestine, it would further strengthen its legitimacy and help turn Palestinian statehood into a more tangible reality. The world should not wait for the US in this move,” he added.

During his press briefing on May 22, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China “always firmly supports the just cause of the Palestinian people” in restoring their legitimate national rights, supports the two-State solution and is one of the first countries to recognize the State of Palestine.

A Palestinian man is overcome with emotion after identifying a loved one at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah following Israeli bombardment early on May 22, 2024 on the nearby town of al-Zawaida in the central Gaza Strip, amid continuing battles between Israel and Hamas. (PHOTO / AFP)

He added that China’s stance on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is consistent.

On May 22, Norway, Ireland, and Spain announced that they would officially recognize Palestine as a state, earning the ire of senior Israeli officials.

In response, Tel Aviv recalled its diplomatic representatives to the three European nations.

The Times of Israel reported on May 22 that Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu impose “harsh punitive measures” against the Palestinian Authority after the European nations’ announcement, including cutting off Ramallah financially.

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Farhan Mujahid Chak, visiting faculty at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, told China Daily said recognition of Palestine should have come sooner.

The whole world “is coming around to the reality” that peace in the Middle East “is a benefit for all”, he said

“Any steps that can be taken to promote peace and promote co-existence are welcomed,” said Chak, adding that there was also a growing realization that the state of Israel, which he described as “fascist” and “extremist”, is not interested in peace.

“Their idealogy is to ethnically cleanse, clearly even by genocide … the entire region of historic Palestine and to empty it, depopulate it, and move in their own citizenry, right? And this has been said even by key figures in the Israeli government,” said Chak.

Palestinians inspect the damage after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 22, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (PHOTO / AFP)

“They’ve said very bluntly that they’d like to live in Gaza. You can imagine how ludicrous and outrageous such an idea is when someone can in the same breath talk about peace,” he added.

“I believe international superpowers in particular have the responsibility to bring Israel to justice and to abide by international laws and resolutions,” Muslim Imran, director at Malaysia-based think tank the Asia Middle East Center for Research and Dialogue, or AMEC, told China Daily.

“The United States, particularly, has continued to provide Israel with impunity and its leaders with protection to carry on with the war crimes and policies,” he added.

Imran blamed the US for being “complicit in the genocide that’s taking place” and said he believes that the Palestinians have high expectations of other superpowers to balance Washington’s one-sidedness and blind support for the Israeli regime

Imran blamed the US for being “complicit in the genocide that’s taking place” and said he believes that the Palestinians have high expectations of other superpowers to balance Washington’s one-sidedness and blind support for the Israeli regime.

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He also noted that developments on the ground in Gaza show that the Palestinians “are trying very hard to survive regardless of the international powerplay and the positions of international powers”.

Chak, from Georgetown, said the two-state solution that recognizes the rights of Palestinians and the rights of Israelis “is the only path forward” but needs support.

“This is a game changer. We need as many countries as possible to come out and officially declare their support for a Palestinian state, which will make it absolutely impossible for any morally conscious ethical individual who believes in International Human Rights Law or the Geneva Convention to turn a blind eye to,” said Chak.

While the announcement by the three Western countries was welcomed by the Arab and wider world, Gaza woke up to another “bloody morning” soundtracked by bombardment and artillery shelling, Al Jazeera reported on May 23.

READ MORE: Israel launches strikes across Gaza as US envoy meets Netanyahu

The report noted that in the previous 24 hours, there had been “a clear increase in all military attacks across Gaza, starting with the Daraj neighborhood of Gaza City”.

Al Jazeera said that a four-story building had been completely destroyed, killing at least 16 Palestinians, including 10 children. An evacuation center was also targeted.

Elsewhere in Gaza City, attacks in the Nuseirat refugee camp killed eight Palestinians after their house was targeted without any prior warning.

 

jan@chinadailyapac.com