In a letter sent to Mahmoud Abbas by Brazilian President Luiz Inåcio Lula da Silva, the Brazilian government has declared its recognition of a Palestinian State along the 1967 armistice lines. The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted the announcement in both Portuguese and English on its website yesterday.
" …on 1 December 2010, the Brazilian Government has recognized the Palestinian State based on the existing borders in 1967.
"The recognition has taken place following negotiations by the Palestinian side and a letter sent by President Abbas to President Lula, last 24 November, in which he requested the recognition.
"The initiative is in accordance with Brazil’s historical willingness to contribute to the peace process between Israel and Palestine, whose direct negotiations are currently on hold, and it is in line with UN resolutions, which have demanded an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories and the construction of an independent State within the borders of 4 June 1967. … "
On November 27, Phil referred us to an article by Jeff Halper, founder and director of the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions, a man nominated by the American Friends Service Committee for the Nobel Peace Prize. Besides his work inside Israel/Palestine, Halper has done as much as anyone else, I believe, to educate people here in the United States (anyone who would listen, that is) about the nature and consequences of Israeli policy with respect to the Occupied Territories. Looking forward to 2011, here is what Jeff had to say:
"In terms of any sort of rational, linear, government-led 'peace process', we have arrived at the end of the road.
And yet I’m optimistic that 2011 will witness a game-changing 'break' that will create a new set of circumstances in which a just peace is possible. That jolt which smashes the present dead-end paradigm must come from outside the present 'process'. It can take one of two forms. The first possible game-changer is already being discussed: a unilateral declaration by the Palestinian Authority of a state…
Such a scenario, while still possible given the deadlock in negotiations, is unlikely, if only because the leadership of the Palestinian Authority lacks the courage to undertake such a bold initiative. A second one seems more likely: in 2011, the Palestinian Authority will either resign or collapse, …
Maybe Brazil's action is a forerunner to just the kind of jolt Halper is talking about, at least with respect to the "the first possible game-changer". Maybe the courage and commitment of all the actors, and their supporters, to a just resolution to conflict in the region, is about to be tested…yet again.