According to the 1933 Montevideo Convention, there are four criteria a state should have to be considered a state: a permanent population, a defined territory, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other states (which means that other states recognize your existence).
Just looking at these four at face value, Palestine should certainly qualify. But social, political, and religious factors not captured by the Montevideo-4 have stood in the way of Palestine becoming a state for quite some time.
Israel and Palestine are not going to take a rather rudimentary shot at realistic peace without both sides having the same internationally recognized title as “state.” If they continue to argue over Palestine’s statehood, how can they be expected to agree on anything else? Yes, the sides will continue to fight until the end of time. That’s what happens when two religions clash. Israel continues to deny Palestine’s existence as a state, yet it relies on the Oslo Accords to say that Palestine is breaching the agreement by presenting a statehood case to the UN. By negotiating and agreeing with Palestine about Jerusalem’s status, the fate of refugees, security configurations, borders, and settlements, Israel itself confirmed the fourth and most subjective element of the Montevideo-4: Palestine’s capacity to enter into relations with other states.
We’ve all heard the arguments against Palestinian statehood: Hamas runs the Gaza Strip and allowing Palestine to become a state would allow a “terrorist” organization to run things. Yes, they are a hostile organization and have extreme methods of behaving. But let’s get one thing straight: Hamas was born and acts from desperation. The reality for Palestinians to prosper since 1947 has gone downhill into an abyss faster than M. Night Shyamalan’s directing career. Hamas operates from the Gaza Strip, not the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority is the only entity that can legitimately represent Palestine. When a UN statehood bid is blocked, the international community immediately weakens the Palestinian Authority and strengthens Hamas. The circumstances of Hamas’ existence and perpetuation would look very different if the UN recognized Palestine as a state because the motivation for hostilities could begin to dissipate.
Palestine is the ONLY nation on Earth that has its mortal enemy sitting BETWEEN its two pieces of land, continually subjected to enemy exposure. Could you imagine the Cold War if the US and the USSR were neighbors? There would be nothing cold about it. The Arab Spring sent ripples through the Middle East and the region is redefining itself. This is the best time for the biggest change of all. The UN is going to keep releasing resolutions, condemning the ever-expanding of settlements by Israel and Israel is just going to keep on building. This is a blatant waste of time, resources, and unfortunately, lives.
Without recognizing Palestinian statehood, the Middle East is doomed to remain an unstable region. France and the UK are on board with recognizing Palestine, putting pressure on the U.S. and Israel to follow suit. It has taken several generations to come to this step but all the chips are lining up for a successful bid this time around. Let’s hope that it will be worth the last 65 years of bloodshed.