This week, Project Syndicate catches up with Daoud Kuttab, an award-winning Palestinian journalist and Deputy Chair of the International Press Institute.
Project Syndicate: After US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that Israeli settlements in the West Bank do not violate international law, you argued that the only way to avert a renewed Israeli settlement-building frenzy would be for the European Union to recognize Palestine as an independent, occupied state, and “engage with it accordingly.” What type of engagement is needed to ensure that this move – unlike, say, United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which in 2016 reaffirmed the settlements’ illegality – changes the situation on the ground?
Daoud Kuttab: Getting Israel to pay attention will require action, not more rhetoric. Recognizing Palestine as an independent state along the pre-1967 borders is the difference between the two.
The EU has long claimed to support a two-state solution along the pre-1967 borders. In 2014, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestinian statehood, something that some national parliaments (such as in France, Ireland, Luxemburg, and Sweden) have also done. But the EU motion was qualified, stating that the body supported “in principle” recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution, which “should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks.”
With this watered-down motion, the EU merely paid lip service to the two-state solution, while doing nothing to galvanize action. Meanwhile, only one of the two states is thriving; worse, it is occupying the other, thereby denying its people the right of self-determination.
We ask all our Say More contributors to tell our readers about a few books that have impressed them recently. Here are Kuttab's picks:
by Ali Abunimah
This book, written by a Palestinian-American journalist, challenges the conventional wisdom that the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the formation of two separate states. While I advocate a two-state solution, I believe that Abunimah’s analysis is worth reading.
by Rana F. Sweis
This book offers a picture of life in Jordan by exploring the experiences of ordinary people, including a Syrian refugee, a jihadist, and a female parliamentarian.
by Yuval Noah Harari
With a multi-disciplinary approach, Harari traces the evolution of humanity – with a focus on key processes, from the advent of agriculture to the rise of the nation-state – in order to try to explain why we are the way we are.
From the PS Archive
Kuttab reacted to the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in defiance of overwhelming global opposition. Read the commentary.
Just after Trump was elected, Kuttab poured cold water on hopes that America's new president would deal fairly with the Middle East. Read the commentary.
Around the web
Kuttab recently interviewed Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom about the Palestinian refugee challenge, recognizing Palestine as an independent state, and more. Watch their discussion.
Nearly 15 years ago, Kuttab wrote a New York Times opinion article describing the evacuation of Israeli civilians from the Gaza Strip from a Palestinian perspective. Read the commentary.