Thailand Officially Recognizes 'Palestine'

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Thailand's ambassador to the United Nations announced his country's official recognition of a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 borders Friday.

"We felt that now was an appropriate time to proceed with the recognition of the state of Palestine, which was done earlier this week," Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi told AFP.

Both Israel and the United States have rejected a unilateral declaration of statehood, saying negotiations are the only way to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

Palestinian Authority officials were pleased that Thailand added its name to a list of about 100 countries that have officially recognized the state along borders Israel calls "indefensible."

The announcement follows recent meetings between Israeli and P.A. delegations in Amman, sponsored by Jordan's King Abdullah, meant to restart the peace process.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stressed Israel's security needs, including secure and defensible borders.

Meanwhile, negotiations between the P.A., the predominantly Fatah faction ruling in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Hamas, the faction controlling Gaza, have failed to produce a unity government.

Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, is listed as a terror group by the U.S. and Britain.

"The Islamic resistance group of Hamas is the jihad arm of the (Muslim) Brotherhood," Gaza-based Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said recently. "It is the Palestinian face."

Neither the Muslim Brotherhood nor Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist. Both groups are committed to Israel's destruction.

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