This is the moment when Palestine is closest to obtaining widespread recognition by the international community. The UN General Assembly has approved (143 in favor, 25 abstentions, and 9 against) a resolution for consideration of full membership. Although it holds more political than practical value, as it must be approved by the Security Council, where the United States has veto power, it reinforces Palestinian rights. Within the European Union, a group of states, including Spain, is committed to recognizing it as a state.

State recognition will, obviously, clash with the reality of a territory occupied by Israel and with a clear intention from its authorities not to yield an inch of territory or its aggressive behavior, despite violating international law, not complying with humanitarian law, and engaging in apartheid against the Palestinian population.

Designing solution mechanisms requires tackling extraordinarily complex problems for effectiveness. And let’s bear in mind that Israeli aggression and attempts to consolidate a situation will lead, on the day of the creation of this state, to serious problems concerning this population which, under the guise of being Israel, has been developing its life.

However, the fact that it won’t be easy doesn’t mean we shouldn’t address at least three questions.

1. The territorial issue

This is the most important problem. What should Palestine’s territory be? In 1947, the UN approved a plan for the establishment of Israel, whose territorial division into three types (Palestinian, Israeli, and subject to international administration) was never implemented.

A plan, parenthetically speaking, that overlooked the fact that prior to 1947, there was virtually no Israeli population in Palestinian territory, despite the Zionist movement’s attempts to establish it following the Barfut Declaration, which, incidentally, is nothing more than a letter from a minister to a banker. Possibly the most incredible letter one could see, insofar as a British minister promises a banker representing a movement aspiring to be national (the Zionist) the territory where there is a settled population (Palestinian).


partition plan for Palestine

Two years later, Israel had annexed a large part of the neighboring territories. Since 1947, the United Nations has issued countless resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, considering Israel as an “occupying power.” The evolution can be seen in this graph.

Palestine vs Israel

Moreover, the situation in Jerusalem is causing continuous tiny annexations of Palestinian territory by Israel. All the above highlights the difficulties of the Palestinian state having the territory it would be entitled to according to the UN Plan of 1947, even if it is not beneficial for the Palestinians. In any case, the complete withdrawal of the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem seems to be indispensable prerequisites for the Palestinian state to be able to develop its activity.

2. The return of refugees

One of the central problems of the Palestinian population is the extremely high number of exiles that exist and that has been growing as Israel has illegitimately annexed new territories. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), a Palestinian refugee is someone whose habitual residence between June 1946 and May 1948 was historical Palestine – the current state of Israel – and who lost their homes and livelihoods because of the war. The descendants of this population are also considered refugees by the Agency. This is the so-called Nakba, the catastrophe that occurred when, because of the Israeli invasion, they had to leave their homes.

In addition to them, there are the newly expelled from their homes and territories of origin, numbering between 5 and 6 million people. They are the largest and oldest group of refugees; today they are essentially crowded into camps in Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon.

3. Asserting international legality in Palestinian territory and the Middle East for the establishment of a culture of peace and security in the region

All of the above would become meaningless if there were no measures to guarantee international legality in Palestinian territory and, generally, throughout the Middle East. Let’s remember that today Israel not only occupies Palestinian territory but also Syrian territory (the Golan Heights).

There is one issue worth remembering. When the Declaration of Independence of Palestine was made in 1988, it carried with it a series of complementary clauses to achieve its materialization, which adhere to the principles of international law: acceptance of the principles of the United Nations Charter, renunciation of violence, and implicit recognition of the State of Israel. Furthermore, it accepts UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which defined the territorial boundaries of the division of the former British mandate. Israel has never taken similar steps to create lasting peace in the Middle East.

Therefore, the establishment of a UN peacekeeping force that could act as a vehicle to halt potential territorial aggression seems pertinent.

4. And in the meantime?

The recognition of Palestine is an ethical and legal duty. But its practical consequences are limited until economic, military, and political sanctions are applied against the State of Israel. This is the only way to achieve a solution to the Palestinian problem and, in general, to the problem of the Middle East. Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions measures are needed to pave the way for a solution.

Today in Gaza, there is a policy of extermination and population transfer that is not acceptable from the perspective of human rights and international law. It cannot go unpunished, and the perpetrator, Israel, must assume its responsibility.