JERUSALEM – Paraguay has joined a parade of South American nations in recognizing an independent Palestinian state.
The declaration issued by the government of Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo on Jan. 27 recognized a “free and independent” Palestine within borders that predate the 1967 Six Day War. The announcement comes just a few weeks before a mid-February summit in Peru of South American and Arab leaders. Paraguay “reaffirms its conviction that negotiations between Israel and Palestine should re-start with the goal of reaching peace and security for both nations,” read the statement in part.
In recent weeks, the South American states of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Ecuador have all announced their recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. While Chile and Peru have also recognized a sovereign Palestinian state, they have said the border issue must be worked out between Israelis and Palestinians.
Thus far, no European country has recognized a Palestinian state. However, earlier in the week, Ireland upgraded its relations with the Palestinian Authority, but stopped short of recognizing a sovereign Palestinian state. Israeli officials were highly critical of the move.
Meanwhile, fears that Europe would follow in the tracks of South America mounted. According to a Jerusalem Post report, Israel fears Spain, Belgium, Ireland and Scandinavian countries are preparing to follow suit in declaring their unilateral recognition of an independent Palestinian state.
Israeli officials are concerned that the United States will then use Europe to pressure Israel into making concessions.