Thailand Recognizes 'Palestine'
Thailand on Thursday announced it has recognized a "Palestinian" state.
Thailand has "officially recognized the state of Palestine and officially informed all permanent and observer missions to the United Nations in New York of this development," a press officer for Thailand's mission said.
The move was hailed by officials in Ramallah looking for ammunition in their propaganda war with Israel.
"Thailand's recognition of a Palestinian state is the first of the New Year 2012 and is a new achievement for Palestinian diplomacy," Palestinian Authority foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki told the official PA news agency WAFA.
Maliki added that the announcement brought to 131 the number of countries "that recognize a Palestinian state along 1967 lines."
Thailand recognized Israel in 1954 and has historically maintained stable relations with the Jewish state.
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas thanked Thailand for the move and indicated diplomatic relations would be established shortly.
"President Mahmud Abbas thanks Thailand's king and government for its official recognition of the Palestinian state," the Abbas statement said.
Thai foreign ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi told the AFP that recognition "has been under consideration for some time".
"We felt that now was an appropriate time to proceed with the recognition of the state of Palestine, which was done earlier this week," he said.
Thongphakdi said the move was unrelated to the recent charging of a Lebanese man suspected of planning an attack in Bangkok, who had alleged links to the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Muslim Shiite group Hizbullah.
Officials in Ramallah have avoided negotiations with Israel for more than two years by creating a growing list of preconditions of talks, while at the same time violating the 1993 Oslo Accords by making unilateral moves.
Those preconditions include a renewed building freeze by Israel in the "disputed" territories, a release of all Arab terrorists from Israeli prisons, and Israel accepting the indefensible pre-1967 lines before talks begin.
Israeli officials note a previous 10-month building freeze by Israel was not only rebuffed by officials in Ramallah, but resulted in more preconditions and the PA's current unilateral bid.
A foreign ministry official close to recent "exploratory meetings" between Israel and the PA said Ramallah was seeking to "create the illusion of progress" while avoiding substantive talks.
In December 2011 the Palestinian Authority's parent organization - the PLO - formally announced "a strategy based on continuous efforts along with the international community to secure full recognition and full United Nations membership, pursuing internal reconciliation, and keeping up the popular resistance."
The PLO has also moved to induct Hamas and its terror confederates into its ranks.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said he is willing to restart talks without preconditions "anytime, anywhere."