The hoisting of a Palestinian flag outside the offices of the Palestinian Authority’s mission in Washington is just one more step in its concerted, unilateral campaign to gain international recognition for a Palestinian state.
The chief Palestinian envoy, Maen Areikat, is reported as having said: “It’s about time that this flag that symbolizes the struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination and statehood is raised in the United States. We hope that this will help in the international efforts to provide recognition for the Palestinian state.”
The move comes in the wake of the decision by a number of South American governments to recognize a Palestinian state east of the 1967 Green Line and growing fears in Israel that other countries will follow suit.
Shin Beit chief, Yuval Diskin, expressed the view earlier this week that “The UN General Assembly may declare a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders as early as September.”
The Palestinian Authority’s unilateral efforts to declare statehood by by-passing the peace process are in direct contravention of the Oslo Accords, which specifically state in Article V that a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinian, including the defining of borders, would be achieved in the context of negotiations between the two parties.
While hoisting a flag in Washington may not be much more than a symbolic gesture, the fact that this event took place with the approval of the US State Department whose representatives attended the ceremony says a great deal for the direction in which the Obama administration is moving.