Do the Palestinians really need help?
Antar: "The Palestinians need hope"
DW: Sweden has recognized Palestine as a state. There was a lot of applause for this from the Palestinians, but also criticism - not only from the Israelis. Who does recognition of Palestine benefit most?
Antar: This recognition is of particular benefit to peace. Sweden has made a very important contribution to saving the peace process and the two-state solution. Everyone knows that without international interference, the two-state solution could tip over. Because the facts that are created by the Israeli side prevent a two-state solution.
However, some are also very critical of the recognition because it does not change the status quo and all problems remain unsolved.
Sweden has encouraged France, Ireland and Spain to take the same step. Because we are talking about two unequal parties here. The Israelis build settlements on Palestinian soil every day. This prevents a connection between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Any sane person who deals with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict realizes that the two-state solution is the best solution. But Israel is simply continuing with its settlement policy and thus wrecking the two-state solution.
Does that mean: the more countries recognize Palestine as a state, the more likely the two-state solution becomes?
The Palestinians need hope to continue on the peaceful path. This is also what Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas says: that a state can only be founded by peaceful means. But this is not feasible without outside help. The Palestinians are humiliated by Israeli politics, which has been practiced for over a decade. If the Europeans support the Palestinians, it is definitely an important signal. In the past we have found that Europeans take the first step and Americans often follow suit.
The recognition of Palestine as a state does not solve the problems between Israelis and Palestinians.
That's true. But recognition would force Israel to do so. That is why we thank the Europeans. They are trying to follow the right course so that a third intifada does not occur. The Palestinians are losing hope more and more. That is why they expect help from the Europeans.
Help in what form?
Above all political aid that could help the Palestinians continue to believe in a peaceful course and in a peaceful coexistence with Israel. Otherwise there will be radicalization here. We want to prevent that. But for that we need hope - and that could come from the countries that support Israel the most, that is, the Americans and the Europeans.
The interview was conducted by Anne Allmeling.
Usama Antar is a political scientist based in Gaza City.
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