Unilateral Recognition

The concept refers to an Israeli strategy aimed at bringing about the establishment of a Palestinian state through unilateral moves.


The concept "Israeli Unilateral Recognition of Palestinian Statehood" (hereinafter "Unilateral Recognition") refers to an Off-the-table Strategy of the State of Israel, comprising of unilateral moves and coordinated with 3rd parties, designed to Upgrade the Political Status of the Palestinian Authority into full-fledged statehood.


According to the Oslo Process the Palestinian state will come into being only after the completion of a Permanent Status Agreement, which will determine the date and the way to realize the Palestinian Right of Self-Determination and ensure mutual recognition between the Palestinian state and the state of Israel.1

The concept of Israeli Unilateral Recognition is relevant in case:

  • Israel reaches the conclusion that it is in its interest that a Palestinian State is established sooner rather than later; while
  • The Israeli and Palestinian parties are unable or unwilling to bring into being a Palestinian State through bilateral negotiations and agreement.

In such case, Israel may launch an off-the-table strategy designed to upgrade the political status of the Palestinian Authority into statehood. (See: Accession to Statehood).

The pillars of this alternative include:

  • Upgrading the political status of the Palestinian Authority (an Israeli End of Responsibility and shift of responsibility to the Palestinian side);
  • Israeli formal recognition in the Palestinian Authority as a state; supported by
  • Parallel recognitions by the United States and other leading nations.

The final objective is that the Palestinian State becomes a full-fledged Member-State of the United Nations.

International law sets four basic criteria for statehood: delineated land, population, self- government and capacity to enter into foreign relations, which, at present, means membership in the United Nations.

According to international custom, accession to statehood demands Collective Recognition” by the international community of a political entity "declaration of independence" that follows acceptance to the United Nations as a “Member State”.

The Israeli-Palestinian Case

The Palestinian case may be different then common practice:

  • Today, the Status of Palestinian Statehood is unprecedented in the level of international standing and recognition and in the right of the Palestinian people for self-determination, which near recognition in full-fledged statehood.
  • Supposedly, the Palestinian national movement objective was the realization of the Palestinian right of self-determination, through the establishment of a Palestinian state. Israeli-American recognition of such a state will ensure that objective.
  • However, various Palestinian groups reject the establishment of a Palestinian state, as part of the two states solution.
  • These groups may continue their actions even after an Israeli unilateral recognition. (See: One-State Threat, Moment of Inversion toward Palestinian Statehood, Contemporary One-State Argument).
  • Since Israel is perceived by the international community as the "Occupier" of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, an Israeli unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, that is not part of a permanent status agreement, may present Israel as violating the Inherent Rights of the Palestinian state.

1 For other models of Permanent Status Agreements leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state see: Beilin–Abu-Mazen Docuent (10/95), Draft Permanent Status Agreement (1/01), ICG Document on Middle East End Game (7/02) and The Geneva Initiative (10/03).