The Guardian newspaper reports that:

Britain will consider recognising a Palestinian state as part of concerted efforts to bring about an “irreversible” peace settlement, the foreign secretary, David Cameron, has said.

In what would mark a landmark diplomatic moment, he said the move would help to bring about a two-state solution – currently facing trenchant opposition from the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Is there an assumption that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem would automatically result in the Palestinian state being widely recognised by other nations?

My guess is not, since there are a number of other states (such as Taiwan, Northern Cyprus, Kosovo etc.) that exist de facto but aren't widely recognised and are not members of the UN. In which case David Cameron's suggestion would seem to be moving past the position of other countries advocating for a two-state solution.

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    The State of Palestine is already widely recognized; 139/193 (72%) of UN Member states recognize Palestine. It's also a permanent non-member observer state at the UN. Jan 30 at 14:45
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    Because you Ask that, it clearly does not. Jan 30 at 21:55
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    I think you've got that backwards. A 2-state solution wouldn't result in recognition of Palestine; getting Palestine to be widely recognised is one necessary part of achieving a 2-state solution.
    – Ben
    Jan 31 at 4:14
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    "“A lot of the Israeli public has gradually switched from a belief in the two-state solution to, at least an implicit belief, in a three classes solution. That you have just one country between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean but you have three classes of people living there. Jews, who have all the rights. Some Arabs who have some rights and other Arabs, who have very little or no rights. This is increasingly the situation on the ground. This is also the aspiration, or the mindset, of even the people in the government." - said Yuval Noah Harari
    – Vorsprung
    Jan 31 at 8:58
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    What would be the other state besides Israel? A two state solution does require a second state and if it isn't Palestine who would it be?
    – Joe W
    Feb 1 at 14:26

3 Answers 3


Israel is the reason why Palestine isn't universally recognized

De facto states or quasi states that are not universally recognized are in this position because one of their neighbour has a strong political or historical objection to their existence/independence, and this neighbour's allies back it up:

  • Cyprus, Greece, EU oppose the recognition of Northern Cyprus' statehood

  • Morocco opposes the recognition of Western Sahara's statehood

  • China opposes the recognition of Taiwan (and Taiwan hasn't actually asked for separated statehood)

  • Serbia opposes the recognition of Kosovo's statehood

  • Israel opposes the recognition of Palestine's statehood

(let's not debate the motivation or the validity of each country's claim)

A two-state solution necessarily includes in recognition of the Palestinian state by Israel.

If a peace process ever results in a two states solution, it implies that Israel and Palestine will recognize each other's statehood and right to exist. They should then start diplomatic relationships that may be more or less cordial but exclude the state of war.

Because, tautologically, peace is what a successful peace process achieves.

Other countries should follow

Once Israel recognizes the State of Palestine, none of its allies in Northern America or Europe will have any reason left not to so as well. That's why it is very much expected that if a peace process results in a two states solution, Palestine will be universally recognized and become a full member of the United Nations.

A past example is East Timor, which was fighting for its independence from Indonesia between 1975 and 1999. Many countries, for instance Australia and the USA, didn't recognize East Timor's statehood because the Indonesian ally was far too important:

A staunchly anti-communist Indonesia was considered by the United States to be an essential counterweight, and friendly relations with the Indonesian government were considered more important than a decolonisation process in East Timor.

However, when Indonesian finally accepted East Timor's independence on May 20, 2002, no less than 27 States, including the USA and Australia, immediately recognized East Timor, and many others followed.

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    It should be noted that even if most UN members want to admit Kosovo or Palestine to the club, Russia (with close ties to Serbia) or the USA (with close ties to Israel) can use their status as permanent Security Council members to veto their membership.
    – dan04
    Jan 30 at 17:52
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    @dan04 This would be somewhat difficult, politically for the US to do (although they can), because early on in the life of the UN they took the position that the P5 should not block membership--US Senate Res. 239 of 11 June 1948. Nonetheless, the US did block Vietnam's membership a few times till 1977. nytimes.com/1975/08/12/archives/… ; nytimes.com/1976/09/14/archives/… Jan 30 at 18:40
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    This is a good answer, but I think that you should change ‘A two-state solution automatically results in recognition of the Palestinian state by Israel’ to ‘A two-state solution necessarily includes recognition of the Palestinian state by Israel’ (changes in italics/emphasis). The first phrasing suggests that first the solution is achieved, and then this causes recognition. Whereas in reality, the solution isn't achieved until there is recognition (at which point the solution is achieved, if the recognition is mutual and there are no dissenting factions that continue fighting). Feb 1 at 18:14
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    @TobyBartels good point, edited.
    – Evargalo
    Feb 2 at 6:09
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    I'd say having a neighbor that objects to your recognition is usually true but not necessarily the only reason. Kosovo isn't recognized by Spain not because Spain is Serbia's ally, but because doing so could bring issues internally in Spain due to relatively strong separatist movements. I suspect you might find some resistance from Spain to accept Kosovo even if the dispute with Serbia is resolved.
    – bracco23
    Feb 2 at 10:42

Not really.

The largest reason a new Palestinian state would not be recognized is that recognition would have to be tied to two things

  1. A recognition of Israel as a legitimate state by Palestine
  2. Trusted leadership to run the new state

The technical leader of what could be currently regarded as the Palestinian state is Mahmoud Abbas. He's pro-Western (relative to the alternatives), but has refused to hold new elections, possibly due to the possibility of Fatah losing heavily to Hamas

But many Palestinians regarded the Jerusalem issue as an excuse to avoid elections that Fatah might well lose to its Islamist rivals Hamas, as it did in the last parliamentary ballot in 2006.

Obviously, the current war between Hamas and Israel has these tensions on the rocks. Hamas seems poised to win any new elections since the war started

A wartime opinion poll among Palestinians published Wednesday shows a rise in support for Hamas, which appears to have ticked up even in the devastated Gaza Strip, and an overwhelming rejection of Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas, with nearly 90% saying he must resign.


Despite the devastation, 57% of respondents in Gaza and 82% in the West Bank believe Hamas was correct in launching the October attack, the poll indicated. A large majority believed Hamas’ claims that it acted to defend a major Islamic shrine in Jerusalem against Jewish extremists and win the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Israel will never accept a Hamas-run state again. Biden understands this, but his only option is to have Abbas to take control over Gaza when the war ends

Washington has called for the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, currently led by Abbas, to eventually assume control of Gaza and run both territories as a precursor to statehood. U.S. officials have said the PA must be revitalized, without letting on whether this would mean leadership changes.

And thus you have the problem for many Western states who would like a two-state solution:

  • Recognize Abbas and Fatah as the leaders of Palestine and make them de-facto dictators over a people who openly dislike them
  • Allow free elections where the overwhelming support is for people who are highly unlikely to respect any two-state solutions (Hamas stands for a one-state solution with no Jews living in the region)


Your guess is correct. Although I don't believe Taiwan is a member of the UN, but that's a separate issue.

Generally recognition, as an act, is subject to bilateral agreements between states. The UN acts as a forum and a record keeper for international agreements rather than as a law-giver. Even its court (which has been in the news lately), the ICJ, is a voluntary-participation entity which resolves questions of meaning of already-existing agreements.

The signatories of international agreements (i.e, treaties) act as "contracting parties." They are explicitly referenced as such in treaties and in the UN literature.

So members of the UN will have an opportunity to enter into bi-lateral agreements with then-existing Palestinian state and have those bilateral agreements recorded as existing in the annals of the UN. But they will not be forced to do that.

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