Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Israel Will Not Recognize Kosovo, Yet?

Israel won't recognize Kosovo, for now

Israel will not recognize Kosovo's independence at this time, and is watching developments in Brussels and elsewhere before it makes a final decision on the issue, officials in Jerusalem told The Jerusalem Post on Monday, a day after Kosovo's parliament declared independence from Serbia.

Israel also has good relations with the Kosovars, with Jerusalem sending massive humanitarian aide to the besieged Muslims during and after the 1998-1999 war with Slobodan Milosevic's regime. Jewish groups worldwide are also involved in aide to Kosovo's Muslim majority, and even helped to rebuild mosques damaged during the fighting.

Jerusalem finds itself, like many in the international community, in the uncomfortable position of having to weigh its relationship with a friendly nation, Serbia, against a people striving for self-determination in Kosovo. Israel has an interest in helping to establish a moderate, secular Muslim state friendly to Jerusalem and Washington in the heart of southeast Europe.

Serbia, backed by Moscow, argues that Kosovo has no right to declare independence, whereas Kosovo's backers in the West, including the US, say Serbia has not been the de facto sovereign in Kosovo for more than nine years, and that since the region is policed by NATO peacekeepers and administered by the UN, Kosovo's independence is the last act in the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia. Serbia argues that since the sides are still engaged in negotiations, UN resolutions pertaining to the issue rule out a Kosovar secession from Serbia without agreement from Belgrade.

The assessment in Jerusalem is that Israel does not need to be seen to decide either way, even though not declaring its support for Kosovo's declaration of unilateral independence is regarded by some as a stance in itself.

1 comment:

johnny said...

Remember, Israel is not a NATO member.