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Palestine’s Latin American outreach makes a lot more sense now

At the end of last year, Brazil and Argentina surprised the world by recognizing the Palestinian state. They were followed in quick succession by almost all of South America, with the notable exception of Colombia. Those moves followed a tour of the region by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in late 2009. At the time, ...

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

At the end of last year, Brazil and Argentina surprised the world by recognizing the Palestinian state. They were followed in quick succession by almost all of South America, with the notable exception of Colombia. Those moves followed a tour of the region by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in late 2009.

At the time, the moves were mostly viewed in terms of what they said about Latin American politics, showing countries plotting a course independently of the United States with strong influence from non-aligned Brazil.

In the context of Palestinian negotiations with Israel, the support of say, Paraguay, didn’t seem all that consequential. But with international recognition of Palestine very much on the world’s agenda this week, the Palestinian overtures to South America make a lot more sense. Looking at the map above, Palestine is currently recognized not only by all four BRICs, by nearly the entirety of the developing world with the exception of a few pariah states like Eritrea and Burma and some pro-American bastions like Colombia and newly independent South Sudan.

Of course, Brazil’s support won’t help them much on the Security Council, where the U.S. holds a veto, but as David Bosco notes, this week is mostly about symbolism anyway, and lining up the vast majority of three continents and almost the entirety of the developing world certainly makes a statement.  

At the end of last year, Brazil and Argentina surprised the world by recognizing the Palestinian state. They were followed in quick succession by almost all of South America, with the notable exception of Colombia. Those moves followed a tour of the region by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in late 2009.

At the time, the moves were mostly viewed in terms of what they said about Latin American politics, showing countries plotting a course independently of the United States with strong influence from non-aligned Brazil.

In the context of Palestinian negotiations with Israel, the support of say, Paraguay, didn’t seem all that consequential. But with international recognition of Palestine very much on the world’s agenda this week, the Palestinian overtures to South America make a lot more sense. Looking at the map above, Palestine is currently recognized not only by all four BRICs, by nearly the entirety of the developing world with the exception of a few pariah states like Eritrea and Burma and some pro-American bastions like Colombia and newly independent South Sudan.

Of course, Brazil’s support won’t help them much on the Security Council, where the U.S. holds a veto, but as David Bosco notes, this week is mostly about symbolism anyway, and lining up the vast majority of three continents and almost the entirety of the developing world certainly makes a statement.  

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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