The standing of South America as the epicenter of international recognition of a Palestinian state intensifies with the laying of the cornerstone at what will be the Palestinian embassy in Brazil on Friday. Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud ‘Abbas will do the honors. The trend of recognizing an independent Palestinian state has been criticized as “premature” by the United States which sees recognition as an impediment to the ongoing peace process Washington is brokering. Israel, too, has called it “regrettable,” and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has said that declaring a state without Israel’s assent will result in a “Mickey Mouse state” that is under occupation. Nevertheless, four South American nations have now declared recognition of the Palestinian state.