Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The recognition/diplomatic relations race

This article reminded me of a post I wrote more than five years ago. At that time, I wondered if it was possible if more countries recognized the State of Palestine than the State of Israel. I looked into it and found that it wasn't even close. At that time, in October 2009, Israel was recognized by 162 countries while Palestine was only recognized by 37. But in the past five years, actually mostly in the past 1-2 years, a lot more countries have started extending recognition to Palestine while other countries have cut off relations with Israel. I wondered if it was possible that Palestine has caught up to Israel by now.

It has not. But it is much closer. As of October 30, 2014, 135 UN member states recognize the State of Palestine, a 364% increase in five years. Israel currently has diplomatic relations with 157 countries, which is a slight decrease from five years ago. The two numbers are slowly converging, but they have not crossed yet.

I should note that having diplomatic relations and recognizing the existence of a state are not the same thing. Venezuela, for example, cut diplomatic relations with Israel during the 2008-09 Gaza War. But the country still recognizes the existence of Israel. It also recognizes and has diplomatic relations with the State of Palestine. The problem is that I have not been able to find a list of countries that extend recognition to each entity that does not conflate things with the issue of diplomatic relations.