Monday, July 18, 2011

Has Syria recognized Israel?

From the Syrian SANA news agency:

Foreign Ministry: Syria Recognizes State of Palestine on July 4th 1967 Lines with East Jerusalem as Its Capital

Jul 18, 2011
DAMASCUS, (SANA) – An official source at the Foreign Ministry on Monday issued the following statement: The Syrian Arab Republic recognizes the state of Palestine on the lines of July 4th 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital on the basis of preserving the legitimate Palestinian rights.

The statement also says that Syria will view the office of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Damascus as an embassy as of the date of issuing this statement.
The Six Day War was in June, 1967, not July.

So there were no July 4, 1967 lines, and hence - no "Palestine!"

OK, it was a mistake. In Arabic, they do say June 4, 1967, not July. But this brings up another question:

By recognizing that "Palestine" does not extend "from the river to the sea," does this mean that they are acknowledging Israel's existence?

The Western press is keen on interpreting Hamas' comments as accepting a Palestinian Arab state in those lines as meaning that they accept a two-state solution. Of course that is nonsense, but Hamas makes it clear that it is meant to be a temporary land grab until all of Israel would be destroyed. Here, Syria is explicitly recognizing  "Palestine" within borders that have nothing to do with British Mandate Palestine. Was this a gaffe?

It is also sloppy for Syria to make such a statement - people like Noam Chomsky would interpret it as meaning that the Golan Heights is part of "Palestine'!

One other point: Syria has historically considered "Palestine" to be part of Southern Syria. They certainly believed that as of 1948. When did this change, and is this significant from that perspective?

It will be interesting to see if Assad gets any criticism from the supposedly non-existent people who want to see Israel destroyed for this recognition of a "Palestine" on only about a quarter the area of what they claim is "Historic Palestine."

(h/t YMedad, EG)