After direct peace talks with Israel failed last fall, Palestinian leaders have stepped up their drive to gain global recognition for a Palestinian state. Israel has warned the move could hamper further peace efforts.
Chile is one of the latest countries to recognize a Palestinian state
Since Brazil in December officially recognized a Palestine as a sovereign, independent state within its borders prior to 1967 a whole wave of other Latin American nations have followed. In recent weeks Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia and Ecuador have done the same. Chile and Peru also recognized a Palestinian state, but declined to mention particular borders in their recognition.
Ireland last month upgraded the status of the Palestinian delegation to that of a mission, thereby elevating the head of the mission to the rank of ambassador. A spokeswoman for the Irish foreign ministry said, the country was following the example of France, Spain and Portugal.
Israel has criticized the recent wave of recognitions. It called Latin American countries' recognition of a Palestinian state "highly damaging interference" by countries that were never part of the Middle East peace process.
Ireland's decision drew an angry response from Israel, which condemned Dublin for a "long-standing biased policy on the Middle East". "This will only strengthen the Palestinians' rejection of any return to direct dialogue and peace negotiations," Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP.
Currently, more than 100 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia, have recognized a Palestinian state. Palestinian authorities are hoping for a diplomatic domino effect to back their claim for a state in all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel disputes the Palestinian claim on all the West Bank and East Jerusalem, land it captured from Jordan in a 1967 war and has extensively settled.
Author: Michael Knigge (Reuters, AFP, AP)
Editor: Rob Mudge