Note from Blogger – this is the first of a new feature of my blog. From time to time I will have a friend write a post and put it on my blog; I hope you find these posts entertaining and informative.
Territorial sovereignty is one of the most contentious topics in world news today. In just the last 20 years, large sovereign entities such as the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics have dissolved, while small states, such as Palestine, have struggled to emerge. In each case, a group's desire for autonomy has become evident and becomes the agent of change. For states, sovereignty represents the power to maintain authority and legitimacy, as well as to regulate domestic and international affairs. Such statehood deigns to promote the ideals of and for its people while managing interactions with an increasingly interconnected world.
Authority and legitimacy for states comes from their power to make decisions on behalf of its people without the consent of another country or external organization. Decisions are made by the government in place, who presides over internal laws and international agreements. Ideally, such government's powers lie under consent of the governed along with the cooperation of neighboring and regional countries, which legitimize their sovereignty. Without such recognition, the state risks failure when the governed dissent, or when other countries are unwilling to embrace political and commercial institutions. Both of these forces are influenced by the success with which the government represents and treats it's people through the institutions of welfare, commerce, and health, or by the lack thereof.
In a recent article "America and the Two-State Solution", found through the website Watching America.com, the author discusses America's proposal for a Palestinian state. By having two separate states, both Israel and Palestine, it is proposed that both sides would be satisfied and that fighting between the two groups would bring about a peaceful coexistence. However, if Palestine were to become a state, it may - in the process - not receive some of the components necessary for it to maintain sovereignty. Creation of this new state would be subject to limitations and guidelines from the State of Israel, thus making Palestine answerable to an adversarial power. Though past Presidents of the United States have promised to work towards the goal of two states, no President has yet to come forth with successful actions.
This author understands the contention for Palestine's legitimacy for statehood. Having originally existed by United Nations mandate, Palestine and Palestinians are described as the people who happened to live in a certain locale at the time of the international agreement. However, the Palestine Liberation Organization that now endorses this resolution, once represented itself as existing for the purpose of destroying Israel. How an organization thus empowered could be expected to embrace peaceful coexistence without renouncing this creed is uncertain. Resolution of this disagreement will either result in a new state, continued conflict, or both.
With two separate groups of people desiring self-determination amid their own ideals for the rule of law, resolution of this conflict remains contentious. Currently, the Palestinian people reside in many countries, none of which is their homeland. Being so dispersed, they find a shortfall in their representation and zeal for self-governance in a Palestinian state. Although having no original homeland, these people aspire to creating their own laws and the formation of a globally recognized authority and power. It is also important that Israel's sovereignty continue to be recognized. Thus, it should not be necessary for Israel to merely surrender territorial claims because of pressure from international organizations or other countries. Even with the United States benevolently trying to affect the outcome can be seen as an attempt at dismissing Israel's sovereignty and management of its internal affairs. Therefore, true sovereignty has become the privilege of very few nations in the modern era.