Informed Comment / June 4, 2023
Ann Arbor – The Spanish-language Twitter account for Palestine, “Palestino Hoy,” announced on Thursday that the Palestinian delegation in Mexico City will now be upgraded from a “Special Delegation” to a full embassy, after Mexico fully recognized the state of Palestine.
The statement announced, “This measure is undertaken in the spirit of cooperation and friendship between the two countries, which is evidenced in the continuous development of bilateral relations in the bilateral and multilateral sphere, since its establishment in 1975.”
The document continued, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates expresses its firm conviction that this measure will significantly contribute to the continued development and strengthening of relations between the United Mexican States and the State of Palestine, on the basis of mutual respect and recognition and for the benefit of the two peoples, as well as contributing to international security and development.”
The Mexican Senate passed a resolution recognizing Palestine as an independent state last November, on the anniversary of the Palestinians’ own declaration of independence on November 15, 1985.
They said that they hoped it would contribute to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the Mideast.
The chairman of the Commission on Exterior Relations, Senator Héctor Vasconcelos, said at that time, “I express my desire to see a free, independent Palestine in full exercise of its rights, because the Palestinian-Israeli conflict affects how we conceive of the human rights of peoples, how we conceive of freedom and of being recognized as free persons and not subjects of other nations.”
Vasconcelos, who is an important intellectual, put his finger on something here– that if Palestinians can be rendered stateless and without any real human rights, that situation detracts from our very notion of human rights. It clearly wouldn’t be universal anymore and would be subject to many important exceptions that might render it meaningless. That is, the situation of the Palestinians affects our very conception of what human rights are, and that is why it is so important.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who is center-left, has often been critical of the Israeli government and joined in calls at the UN for investigations of Israel’s bombing of Gaza in 2021. Many Mexicans sympathize with the colonized Palestinians since they feel the force of US hegemony themselves.
Mexico will have gotten enormous pressure from the US State Department not to recognize Palestine, but then Mexicans are used to such pressure and it often backfires.
Mexican thinkers see recognizing Palestine as a path to achieving a two-state solution.
The state of Palestine has over 80 embassies around the world and 12 in Latin America, including in Brazil and Argentina, so Mexico is joining a consensus here. Western Europe, which mostly has Palestinian missions rather than embassies, is an outlier in global terms. Even then, Sweden has a Palestinian embassy and so do many former East Bloc countries, including both Russia and Ukraine.
Juan Cole is the founder and chief editor of Informed Comment; he is Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History at the University of Michigan and the author of, among others, Muhammad: Prophet of Peace amid the Clash of Empires and The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam