Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula
da Silva in a public letter addressed to Mahmoud Abbas, the
Palestinian president, recognised Palestine as an independent
state within the 1967 borders.
The decision came in response to a personal request made by Abbas
on November 24, according to the letter published on the foreign
ministry's website December 3.
"Considering that the demand presented by his excellency [Abbas]
is just and consistent with the principles upheld by Brazil with
regard to the Palestinian issue, Brazil, through this letter,
recognises a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders," it said.
The letter refers to the "legitimate aspiration of the Palestinian
people for a secure, united, democratic and economically viable
state coexisting peacefully with Israel."
The international community backs
Palestinian demands for a state in most of the Gaza Strip, the
West Bank and East Jerusalem, all territories occupied by Israel
in the 1967 six day war.
But the United States and most Western governments have held back
from recognising a Palestinian state, saying it should be brought
about through a negotiated peace agreement with Israel.
Brazil has also offered to help mediate Israeli-Palestinian peace
talks, which were briefly revived in September before grounding to
a halt over the resumption of Israeli settlement building in the
Abbas says he will not return to negotiations while Israel
continues to build on land the Palestinians want for a future
state. But Israel has so far refused to impose a new ban.
Over the last few weeks, Abbas has repeatedly said he would
explore other options if peace talks with the Israelis collapse,
one of which would see him seeking United Nations' recognition of
a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.
On Thursday, a Palestinian official said Washington had officially
informed them that attempts to secure a new Israeli settlement
freeze had failed, but US officials refused to confirm or deny the
Abbas visited Brazil in 2005 and 2009, and Lula made the
first-ever trip by a Brazilian head of state to Palestine and
Israel in March this year.
Meanwhile, Israel has expressed disappointment at Brazil's
decision to recognise a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders,
saying it flew in the face of efforts to negotiate a peace deal.
A statement from the Israeli foreign
ministry said: "The government of Israel expresses sadness and
disappointment over the decision by the Brazilian president Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva a month before he steps down.
"Recognition of a Palestinian state is a breach of the interim
agreement which was signed between Israel and the Palestinian
Authority in 1995 which said that the issue of the status of the
West Bank and Gaza Strip would be discussed and resolved through
negotiations," it said.
Such a move also contravened the 2003 Middle East roadmap for
peace, which said a Palestinian state could only be established
through negotiations and not through unilateral actions, the
It warned that unilateral steps
would harm attempts to build trust.
"Every attempt to bypass this process and to decide in advance in
a unilateral manner about important issues which are disputed,
only harms trust between the sides, and hurts their commitment to
the agreed framework of negotiating towards peace," the Israeli