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The United States Needs to Recognize Palestine Before it’s too Late

Big Picture

The modern phase of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a massive scale has brought on numerous globally-witnessed atrocities. Just recently, 274 Palestinian civilians were massacred during a hostage rescue attempt at the Nuseirat Refugee Camp; among the dead were 64 children. The response to these travesties in the Gaza conflict, along with countless others, is fear and horror, leading to accusations that the State of Israel is committing genocide. As such, the United States must prevent its ally, Israel, from engaging in tactics not approved by international law, lest they find themselves complicit under those laws. How does the United States government engage in humanitarian efforts without appearing to reward adversarial organizations like Hamas? There is only one logical way forward: recognizing the Palestinian Authority as a sovereign nation.

Source: Al-Jazeera

Operative Definitions:

  1. Palestinian Authority (PA): A provisional government in Palestine that exercises partial control over the Palestinian enclaves in the West Bank.

  2. Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO): The organization that governs the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah political party.

  3. The Gaza Strip: The westernmost enclave of Palestine. Primarily controlled by Hamas, a militant Islamic and nationalist political organization.

  4. State of Israel: Israel as a sovereign country, that governs Israel as per the 1967 borders, contested Palestinian territories and the Golan Heights, which was effectively annexed from Syria in 1981.

  5. Occupied Palestinian Territories: The West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which are currently occupied by Israel.

  6. Zone A: West Bank territory under Palestinian civil administration and security control.

  7. Zone B: West Bank territory under Palestinian civil administration and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control.

  8. Zone C: West Bank territory under Israeli civil administration and security control. Sometimes includes East Jerusalem.

  9. Genocide: The purposeful or collateral extermination of a group of people.

  10.  Neocolonialism: The use of economic, political, cultural or other pressures to control or influence other countries, oftentimes former dependencies.

  11. Leahy Laws: Laws prohibiting the U.S. Government from using funds to assist units of foreign security forces where there is credible evidence that the unit violated human rights.

Important Facts and Statistics:

  1. Palestine has been effectively occupied by Israel since 1967.

  2. Palestine is recognized by 144 out of 193 voting member states of the United Nations. The United States is not among them.

  3. The President of the United States of America has the authority to recognize a country as independent, and this power is not shared with Congress.

  4. Recognizing the Palestinian Authority as the official government of Palestine (including the Gaza Strip) would prevent the legitimization of Hamas as a governing body and make Israeli actions in Palestine more diplomatically unviable.

X-Point Plan

  1. Recognize Palestine as sovereign. The United States recognizing the independence of Palestine would be a major step for it on the world stage. It would mean greater international prestige and would subtly acknowledge that Israel is an occupying force.

  2. Recognize the PA as the legitimate government of Palestine. Politically reinforcing a government that has shown some willingness to work with Israel would increase the chances of de-escalation in the region. This may also cement the PA as an internationally recognized staple of Palestinian politics, resulting in a decrease in Hamas’ credibility.

  3. Validate the “minimum” territories of Palestine. Acknowledging those territories currently under Palestinian civil administration (Zones A and B) as Palestinian territory would make it more clear that Israel frequently intrudes on its neighbors' land, meaning a state of on-again, off-again warfare. This would paint any intrusion in those areas as an act of hostility in which Israel is the aggressor.

  4. Make it abundantly evident that the status of Zone C land is unclear. The United States declaring that Zone C areas (including East Jerusalem) are disputed land would decrease the legitimacy of Israel’s de facto ownership. It would also open room for peaceful negotiation between the two parties and prevent accusations of neocolonialism against the United States by not dictating the borders from afar.

  5. Treat Israel in accordance with international and national law. Allowing the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice to engage in legal action against Israel would mean reprisals for the nation if it is found in violation of international law. 

  6. Sanctions and limiting military aid. Implementing economic sanctions against Israeli individuals or entities found to be violating the sovereignty of Palestine or the rights of Palestinians would put great pressure on the State of Israel. Preventing the flow of military aid to Israel with regard to human rights would achieve a similar goal in addition to preventing U.S. culpability for human rights violations in the region.

  7. Pressure militants for a ceasefire and disarmament. In exchange for an independent Palestinian state, organizations such as Hamas should be forced to give up arms and hostages and become purely political organizations.

Why This Initiative is Important

U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has led to increasingly volatile confrontations between the two sides. Without acknowledging both sides as independent states (thus favoring Israel over Palestine), hostilities continue on unequal international footing. The American public has grown agitated over "forever wars" in the Middle East, and Israel-Palestine is the quintessential "forever war." As such, the United States must do its best to force a peaceful solution with regard to humanitarianism on both sides. 

By backing Israel without real concern for the accusations of human rights violations, the United States risks fueling immense hatred both towards itself and its ally.

Therefore, backing Palestine under the PA government would limit anti-American sentiment in the region and reign in our ally in Israel. This needs to happen as soon as possible, lest there is no Palestine to recognize in the future, and the United States is found complicit in its destruction.

Acknowledgment: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.

Works Cited

Aila, Shrouq. “Inside the Nuseirat Massacre: This Is the Carnage I Saw during Israel’s Hostage Rescue.” The Intercept, The Intercept, 10 June 2024,

Fernández, Belén. “Collateral Genocide in Nuseirat.” Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 9 June 2024,

Haddad, Mohammed, and Alia Chughtai. “A Brief History of Israel-Palestine Conflict in 10 Maps.” Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 29 Nov. 2023,

“History of the Question of Palestine - Question of Palestine.” United Nations, United Nations, 2023,

AJLabs. “Mapping Which Countries Recognise Palestine in 2024.” Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 28 May 2024,

Masters, Johnathan. “U.S. Foreign Policy Powers: Congress and the President.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, 2 Mar. 2017,

Berman, Lazar. “Norway’s FM: Palestine Recognition Is an ‘anti-Hamas’ Step, Pushes Two-State Vision | The Times of Israel.” The Times of Israel, 23 May 2024,

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labors. “About the Leahy Law.” U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of State, 20 Jan. 2021,

“West Bank-Related Sanctions.” Office of Foreign Assets Control | U.S. Department of the Treasury, Accessed 15 June 2024.


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