Irish and PA flags
Irish and PA flags Israel news photo montage

Ireland on Tuesday and granted the Palestinian Authority embassy status, but unlike Latin American countries, it did not recognize the PA as a country. Israel says it “regrets” the action but is not surprised.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas claimed that as many as 10 other European countries will follow suit. His international diplomatic war on Israel, which began when he took office after Yasser Arafat died, has paid off so far. Several Latin American countries this past month have recognized the PA as a country based on the 1949 Armistice Lines. Peru added its name to the growing list this week.

"Israel expresses its regret over the step taken by Ireland, but is not surprised by it considering the many years of biased policy relating to the conflict," the government stated.

Sweden, Finland and Denmark are expected to follow Ireland's move, and France, Germany and Belgium also might upgrade their PA missions to the embassy level.  

Israel is trying to convince the international community that the upgrading of relations will damage the chances for a mutual agreement between the Arab world and Israel. Israeli efforts are focused on Britain, which also may grant the PA embassy status.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said the actions by Peru and Ireland “are largely meaningless on the ground and destructive for negotiations they do contribute to the bubble of expectation that is growing amongst the Palestinian leadership... We all know that bubbles eventually burst and it is negligent to contribute to this unsustainable policy.

"Every free gift the Palestinians receive from the international community contributes to their recalcitrance and maximalist strategy. We can see an obvious connection to the recent spate of recognition and a hardening of the Palestinian position."

Abbas’ diplomatic campaign is aimed at giving him enough international support to bypass talks with Israel, which by most accounts have moved beyond the realm of possibility. He stated as far back as two years ago that at the appropriate time, he will turn to the pro-Arab United Nations to recognize the PA as a country with the all of the land restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967.

PA leaders, including Abbas, recently have warned that failure to meet PA demands and establish it as a state might ignite renewed violence.

Former PA legal advisor Amjad Atllah wrote on the Foreign Policy website this week that the leaks of diplomatic cables, along with the demonstration in Tunisia and other countries, shows that change can come without the United States.

“This means there may be more exhibitions of ‘people power’ with unpredictable consequences,” he wrote.