If Kosovo, why not Palestine?
Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2008
By John Whitbeck
As expected, Kosovo has issued its unilateral declaration of independence, the United States and most European Union countries, with whom this declaration was coordinated, rushing to extend diplomatic recognition to this "new country". This course of action should strike anyone with an attachment to either international law or common sense as breathtakingly reckless.
The potentially destabilising consequences of this precedent (which the US and the EU insist, bizarrely, should not be viewed as a precedent) have been much discussed with reference to other internationally recognised sovereign states with strong separatist movements practising precarious but effective self-rule, such as Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transniestria, Ngorno-Karabakh, Bosnia's Republika Srpska, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as to discontented minorities elsewhere. One potentially constructive consequence has not yet been discussed.
American and EU impatience to sever a portion of a UN member state (universally recognised, even by them, to constitute a portion of that state's sovereign territory), ostensibly because 90 per cent of those living in that portion support separation, contrasts starkly with the unlimited patience of the US and the EU when it comes to ending the 40-year-long belligerent Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (no portion of which any country recognises as Israel's sovereign territory and as to which Israel has only asserted sovereignty over a tiny portion, occupied East Jerusalem). Virtually every legal resident of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip seeks freedom, and has for over 40 years. For doing so, they are punished, sanctioned, besieged, humiliated and, day after endless day, killed by those who claim to stand on the moral high ground.
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