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Despite being billed as a way to promote economic cooperation and to exchange ideas, the third South America-Arab Summit (ASPA) once again veered off course and dragged Israel onto its agenda.

The topic of a future Palestinian state prevailed as a key issue at the summit and appears as a point in the concluding document, the Declaration of Lima.

The Declaration of Lima emphasized the Palestinians’ right to statehood and outlined the borders of a Palestinian state. The summit’s resolutions come on the heels of a bid for non-member state status at the United Nations made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Because the ASPA released this document with a focus on “statehood,” it undeservedly thrusts the Palestinian bid at the United Nations back into the spotlight and ignores the need for bi-lateral negotiations to address peace issues.

Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner even tried to draw a parallel between the “occupation of the Malvinas [Islands] by England” with the situation the “Palestinians are going through.”

“The heavy focus of this summit on the Palestinians is misplaced,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “The Arab countries clearly came to the summit with the agenda of pushing the Palestinian’s statehood bid at the United Nations.”

“Not withstanding the reported intentions of economic cooperation and dealing with other multi-lateral issues at this meeting, both the South American and Arab countries have once again sought to politicize the Israeli-Palestinian issue,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “This can only further move the question away from negations, which is the only path to peace.”

Despite including Palestinian statehood among other resolutions, the assembly of heads of states and ambassadors could not come to an agreement to include anything productive on the Syrian civil war in the final declaration.