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Sporcle “Countries of the World” Geography Standard

Editors’ Note: Portions of this post were written by longtime Sporcler Hejman prior to our decision to add Palestine to ‘Countries of the World’. We appreciate this and his many other contributions to Sporcle over the years.

What is a country?

When you were a kid sitting in a classroom staring at the map on the wall, you might have gotten the idea that the world had a certain permanence. We certainly did.  The thing was attached to the wall…with bolts. It’d be pretty hard to change something with that kind of solid mounting.  Of course, the real world couldn’t be further from the truth. Borders, boundaries, place names and our knowledge of the planet changes every day, and so can our definition of what makes a country.

Trivia is much the same way. It may seem that when you have a set of answers that are either right or wrong, there should be some kind of permanence there, or at least some kind of cut and dry way for determining them. Unfortunately, the ambiguity that springs forth from everyday life also bleeds into trivia and directly into a question like “What determines a country?”

Almost every day on Sporcle we get variations on that question. Since we released the Countries of the World back in 2008, we’ve added 2 countries to our quiz, and had to consider our position on many other candidates. So to try to further explain and give a deeper understanding of our site, and the way we make decisions now and into the future, we’d like to give you an inside look on how we determine “What is a country?”

The primary issues for determining a ‘Country’ on Sporcle

  1. Foreign recognition is not universal: There are no fewer than 16 states that have foreign recognition issues. They fall into a variety of categories, ranging from states that nearly no one recognizes (Somaliland) to states that nearly everyone recognizes and are members of the United Nations.
  2. Universal recognition is NOT a valid litmus test:  We can’t wait for unanimity.  If we did, South Korea, North Korea, Israel, Cyprus, Armenia and the People’s Republic of China would all be left off the quiz.  There are still 23 countries that have no established relations with the PRC and 22 UN members that have no relations with Israel.  One (Pakistan) fails to recognize Armenia, one (Turkey) fails to recognize Cyprus, one (North Korea) fails to recognize South Korea and three (South Korea, France and Japan) fail to recognize North Korea.
  3. U.N. Membership is NOT a valid litmus test for exclusion:  There is no dispute anywhere that the Vatican is a valid, independent governing nation.  To leave the Vatican off of a “Countries of the World” quiz is to have an incomplete quiz and people could very rightfully complain that the quiz is inaccurate without the Holy See on it.  That the nation chooses to maintain independence by not participating in the U.N. makes it no less a nation.  Switzerland did not join (for similar, though non-religious reasons) until 2002, yet no one would argue that the Swiss have been an independent nation since the Swiss constitution of 1848, if not since the Swiss confederation of 1291.

So, how should Sporcle handle nations that are in dispute?  Obviously, with the info above you can see that Geography on Sporcle is never going to be cut and dry, so let’s go over each issue indvidually:

Nations we recognize on Sporcle:

  1. U.N. Member States: While the lack of U.N. membership should not exclude a nation from being included (see #3, above), the existence of U.N. membership is a sign of widespread recognition that the entity is a valid, independent nation. Therefore, the 193 members of the United Nations are included in our quiz.
  2. Vatican City: There isn’t any dispute about the Vatican.  It’s an independent, self-governing nation whose status in the U.N. is currently that of a non-member observer state.
  3. Kosovo: Kosovo is recognized by 76 states.  The U.N. administers peace and recognizes it as being separate from Serbia.  Even though it is not a U.N. member, it is a member of the IMF and the World Bank and considered independent by the Nobel committee. It’s completely self-governing, and  nearly all of North America, Western and Central Europe, Australia and Japan recognize Kosovo as an independent country.
  4. Taiwan:  The situation here is made very confusing by the fact that the PRC refuses to have diplomatic relations with any country that formally recognizes Taiwan.  As such, most nations take no official position or make incredibly ambiguous statements about the relations between Taiwan and the PRC or between their own country and Taiwan.  Presidents Reagan and Bush and even PRC leaders have slipped and referred to Taiwan as an independent country. Though Taiwan is recognized by 22 states,  the tug-of-war over small-nation recognition has little to do with politics and much to do with economic assistance from China and Taiwan. However, as Taiwan is self-governing and maintains distinct political and trade relations with nearly every major country (save the PRC), we recognize it as its own separate country.
  5. Palestine: Palestine is recognized by 131 states. The map of nations recognizing Palestine is essentially the reverse of the Kosovo map.  Almost all of Eastern Europe, Africa, S. America and Asia recognize the nation.  The U.S., Canada, all of Western Europe, Japan and Australia do not. Until November 2012, Palestine was known as an observer entity in the U.N. and we didn’t believe that status was legitimate enough for inclusion. However, when the U.N. voted to award it  non-member observer state status, a continued decision to leave Palestine off of the quiz would put our site in a situation in which it included two nations (Kosovo, Taiwan) that have less U.N. recognition than Palestine and one (Vatican City) that has basically the same status (Non-member observer state).  While we recognize that the situation on the ground in those nations varies considerably, the level of U.N. international and multinational recognition compelled us to add Palestine.

Nations we do not currently recognize on Sporcle:

  1. Western Sahara:  At one point 83 U.N. members had recognized the independence of Western Sahara.  However, many have withdrawn that because there is a referendum pending on the issue.  The African Union says it’s a nation, the Arab League says it’s not.  The U.N. has it on the list of non-self governing territories.  Until we see more international support, or a change in U.N. status, Western Sahara will not be included.
  2. Somaliland, North Cyprus, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria: Not one nation recognizes Somaliland.  Only other entities on that list recognize Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistra.  Abkhazia is recognized by only five U.N. members (including Russia).  South Ossetia is recognized by only four U.N. members (including Russia).  North Cyprus is recognized by only Turkey and the U.N. has specifically said that recognition is invalid. None of these countries are represented on our countries of the world quiz.
  3. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland:  While these four are referred to as countries in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, they are no more independent nations than the state of Texas or California. They don’t handle their own national defense or foreign relations, and they do not have a place in the U.N. outside of the UK.  These four countries are not included.
  4. Greenland: While Greenland is largely autonomous in many ways, it is not itself a member of the U.N. and still officially part of of the kingdom of Denmark. Its area is represented as Denmark.
  5. French Guiana: We’ve tackled this in a separate post, but in short: French Guiana is an overseas department of France, and it is considered an integral part of that country.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or comments about our quizzes or blog in the comment section or at our Feedback page.

 

Last updated January 15, 2013. This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink.

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56 Comments on Sporcle “Countries of the World” Geography Standard

  1. It looks to me, when trying to type in Finland, as it is left out. I believe there is no controversy surround Finlands sovereignity…?

  2. Sporcle is missing the forest for the trees here as it ignores the de facto status on the ground. A country has a sovereign government, well-defined borders, and control over its own national security. Palestine has none of these, while the Vatican, Kosovo, and Taiwan all do. Palestine doesn’t own its borders, airspace, or territorial waters.

    The fact that Palestine was granted observer status to the UN doesn’t change these facts. To use an excellent analogy from the previous thread, this is the equivalent of calling DC a state because they have an observer Representative in the House.

    • It is hard to have all of that when you are being occupied and subjugated by another country. Palestine does have its own government with distinct political parties and rough borders that are just not recognized by Israel.
      Palestine is most certainly a country and I applaud Sporcle for their decision.

      • Palestine is not being occupied. Just ask any of their terrorist leaders. The PA has no mandate to govern in Gaza as they overthrew (lit. threw off of rooftops) any person they believed to be a member of, work for or have voted for Fatah. They are the scum of the earth, and I feel sorry for the people. They want and receive international recognition. Israel, the US etc. do not recognise the GOVERNMENT of Gaza, but all recognize the need for a 2 state solution. Ergo, Sporcle is wrong and, ironically, infactual.

        • “Israel, the US etc. do not recognise the GOVERNMENT of Gaza, but all recognize the need for a 2 state solution.”

          Riiiiiight.

        • Hamas won the elections in 2006 so you saying that Fatah is the rightful government is just wrong and a mojor reason why they won’t have peace if yoou cacn’t even recognise who the palestinians voted for. Also you point about borders what was given to Israel by the UN in 1947 and what do they own now?

    • Hm? The same logic would mean Afghanistan and Iraq stopped being “countries” at least at the peak of the invasion… there are literally dozens of other examples.

    • The status of the Vatican is just as muddy. There’s no clear distinction between the Vatican as a state, the Holy See as a religious jurisdiction, and the Catholic Church as an organisation, and it’s all dependent on Italy anyway (e.g. the Vatican doesn’t have an army, the Holy See does; and some parts of the Vatican like St Peter’s Place are subject to Italian law).

  3. I would like to use this as a platform to vent my frustrations with the Countries of the World quiz, and all other Countries of… quizzes.

    1: I can get 100% on all 6 of the continental quizzes, but never the world as a whole. Why? Because of how the two types are differently illustrated. The continental quizzes helpfully fill in the blank areas with colors and a simple text label with no background. Countries of the World confirms your answers with a chunky block label that obscures the map of leaves the whole thing a cluttered mess. I can never tell which countries I’m missing because of this and I often find myself embarrassed by my omissions.

    2: Though I do find the current Countries of Antarctica quiz to be cheeky and cute, I don’t think it would be too much to ask for the inclusion of a legitimate quiz on which countries have staked territorial claims on the continent. And I do mean a proper illustrated quiz.

    3: Can overseas territories, dependencies, and disputed non-nations be included as secret bonus answers?

    4: If Russia and Turkey are answers in both Europe and Asia, why is Egypt an answer in Africa but not Asia? And what of Kazakhstan and Georgia, which have small portions of territory within the boundaries of Europe?

    • Israel (part of Asia) captured the Sinai Penninsula during the 1967 Six Day War, therefore as long as the Sinai is occupied by Israel, Egypt will stake claim in both Africa and Asia.

      • .. Now that Israel has withdrawn from Egypt’s Sinai Penninsula, Egypt no longer has any territorial claims in Asia.

        • I do not understand your reasoning – the question of who occupies the Sinai (and it really was decades ago that Israel did) does not at all change whether it is in Africa or Asia. Actually the fact that Egypt undoubtedly owns the Sinai makes an inclusion for Egypt in Asia more valid than any claims they may have had when Israel was still governing the area.

  4. Yay! I love that Palestine will be added to the “Countries of the World” quiz. It’s a shame that the “West” doesn’t recognize it.

    Also, as a side note, I have the same problem with the “Countries of the World” quiz as TheCornballer. I’m not sure how it could be improved. Maybe list form?

    • The West recognises the people of Gaza, and that there should be a 2 state solution. Whilst the scum/terrorists/****s are in government, there SHOULD NEVER BE recognition. It’s not accepted in Northern Ireland/North Korea etc, so why should it be here?

      • >Whilst the scum/terrorists/****s are in government

        you mean the gocernment elected by the palestinians.
        I’m sure the blockade which stops basic surplies from reacing gaza is sure helping the peace process and stopping support for Hamas

      • While South Korea (and France) do not recognize the north, it really is a bad example… the existence of North Korea as a distinct country is of no doubt, political strategic moves aside.

  5. I agree with the other posters. The standard for whether something is a county should be: (1) fixed borders; (2) fixed government; and (3) self-governance. I don’t believe Palestine has any of these.

    • Rule (1) would rule out China, India and Pakistan (Kashmir issue), Armenia and Azerbaijan (Nagorny-Karabakh and the corridor), many African and Middle East countries and possibly more. You could even make a point for excluding Bolivia and/or Chile due to differences about the territories lost by the former to the latter during the Chile-Bolivia-Peru war. Despite what maps show, borders are far from clear in many places of the world, sometimes because they’re hardly settled, sometimes for other reasons.

  6. Although I would very much like to see Palestine added to the family of nations at the earliest opportunity, I cannot see any logical argument for doing so now. My objections are as follows:

    1. It is not a full member of the UN.

    2. It is not an independent country. Its security and foreign relations (and lots of other matters) are controlled by Israel. At best it has a limited degree of autonomy which could be removed overnight at the bequest of Israel.

    3. It is not self-governed by a single authority. Two separate authorities run a limited proportion of its internal affairs and neither has any greater legitimacy than the other.

    4. A significant number of other countries do not recognise it on the grounds that it is not a fully autonomous country (which it is not).

    5. The split authorities mirror the position in Somalia where Somaliland and Puntland are claiming to be independent of the centrally recognised government and therefore do not receive recognition.

    Until now I agree that Sporcle’s standard has been logical. This change is inconsistent. Surely if Palestine is treated as a sovereign country then Transnistria and other genuinely autonomous territories should be as well? You have already accepted in the case of Taiwan that large scale recognistion is not a disqualifying factor. Surely independence is the most important characteristic of a sovereign state?

    Finally I would suggest that imposing the change on Spocle without a suitable period of consultation and reflection is highly irregular and undemocratic.

  7. People try to prevent Palestine from becoming a country, when we should be trying to have peace between them so that the causalities go down. They have none of the stuff because they are being prevented by Israeli state.

    • I don’t want to get into politics too much on Sporcle, but here is something for you to think about. If Isreal were to recognize Palestine as an independent state, they would essentially be telling the world, “Acts of terror will let you get your way.” I know that not all Palestinians are commiting acts of terror, and I fully support it being recognized as a country, but think of it from that point of view.

      • I’m not sure this argument really holds water, Jake. Israel may see it that way, but that view conflates all Palestinians who want independence with the terrorist groups that, for the most part, actually OPPOSE a two-state solution. One of the easiest ways for Israel to make a dent in Hamas recruitment and activity is to actually grant that recognition and withdraw forces. Israel’s reasoning for not accepting a two state solution remains Jerusalem, as well as lingering issues over settlements. ‘legitimizing’ terrorism is not really a factor here.

        • Mr. Lipsett your argument sadly shows a great naivete about the situation in the Middle East. I might remind you that Israel has more than once been ready to have a two state solution and agreed to 95% of the Palestinian demands only to be rejected time and time again. You oversimplify when you say that Israel won’t accept a two state solution because of Jerusalem and the settlements, which suggests that the Palestinian stance has no role in the problem. I would leave you with one fact. Jerusalem is currently a city where anyone is welcome to come and worship at the various holy sites. Prior to 1967 when it was under Jordanian control, Jews were barred from worshipping at the “wailing wall”. Now think about that fact and put it together with a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem and ask yourself what the result would be. Perhaps you will understand more clearly Israel’s reluctance about splitting its capital.

      • If Palestine was a full member state I think Israel would be more cautions about what they do and Palestine would hopfully get some help form the UN to get rid of the illegal settlements. I don’t think the UN tollerates wars between member states.

    • They are denied nothing by Israel. They are given food, medicine, clothes, technology, electricity, money (via taxes). The people rightfully accept and thank Israel for these. The government kills anyone who dare speak in thanks of the Israelis. Israel does more for Gaza and the West Bank than Fatah or Hamas.

      • REALLY

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goods_allowed_or_banned_for_import_into_Gaza

        >Medical material. Batteries for hearing aids have been restricted. Wheelchairs, at various times, have been banned. According to the Haaretz, the number of items allowed into Gaza, as of May 2010, is about 100. Before the blockade, some 4,000 items were allowed.

        >Food. According to a UN report, importation of lentils, pasta, tomato paste and juice has been restricted.
        Reconstruction materials. Amnesty International and other organisations report that cement, glass, steel, bitumen, wood, paint, doors, plastic pipes, metal pipes, metal reinforcement rods, aggregate, generators, high voltage cables and wooden telegraph poles are high priority reconstruction materials currently with no or highly limited entry into Gaza through official crossings. A UN report by Kevin M. Cahill said reconstruction was halted because of lack of steel, cement or glass, among other building materials.

  8. Recently, I wrote a thesis paper explaining what makes a country a “real country”, the Kosovo precedent, and why some defacto nations get recognition and not others. I focused primarily on South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and I found through my research that what Sporcle says is their standard for being considered a country is what most publications, people, and organizations also say. Kudos to being so in sync with the changing world and having a very understandable and agreeable stance with what constitutes a “country”.

  9. What I find so amazing is that many of the comments stating Palestine should be a country are made by people who have no concept of the history of the region, i.e. Israel has more land than the U.N. gave them. Perhaps those folks should be aware that there was land set aside for a nation of Palestine which was annexed by Syria, Jordan, and Egypt and the land Israel has beyond the original U.N. mandate was won in its war of independence. That being said even you folks at Sporcle don’t seem to know your history when it comes to Taiwan or the Republic of China. In fact Taiwan or China-Taipei was a member of the U.N. when the Peoples Republic of China was NOT.
    It was only when the PRC agreed to join the U.N. it was on the condition that Taiwan would no longer be a member of the U.N. By your logic that decision somehow invalidated Taiwan as a sovereign nation. That of course is absurd. If it was a nation when it was a member of the U.N. it remains one despite the U.N. decision. Therefore including it as an example of why Palestine should be considered a nation is the result of historical ignorance and has no validity. Again you say that U.N. recognition does not determine a country’s legitimacy, yet you use the U.N. giving Palestine non member observer status as the main reason for your decision to consider it a country. That is inconsistent and disingenuous. This is very disappointing.

    • @wtfgas: If you read through the many comment posts on Sporcle you will find that a great many Sporclers have an in depth knowledge of the Palestinian question. The same appplies to the PRC/Rep of China (Taiwan) issue.

      An understanding of the history does not necessarily lead to agreement.

      Sporcle accepts that Taiwan is a sovereign state on the grounds that it controls its internal and external affairs. Clearly Palestine is nowhere near being in this position.

      • My point was that sporcle’s criteria are inconsistent and historically unsound. Sporcle used the Taiwan example to defend their decision to include Palestine as a nation and it doesn’t hold water. Again I question their decision to include Palestine as a nation to be motivated by things other than factual information.

    • Why is it a battle of the two sides? If Palestine was to become a country, it would please both sides as Palestine would have independence and there would be peace in the region. The only reason there is war is that Palestine are back up against the wall and are just reacting the only way they can

      • Chris. Both sides will never be happy.

        If giving independence to a state in the middle east would make everyone in the world stand in a circle and sing kumbaya then they would have done that 60 years ago.

        And they are not backed up against a wall. Get some real facts.

      • There wouldn’t be peace. The government/terrorists/scum/****s would still fire on Israel, and use the UN/international bodies as their puppets. Many countries recognise Palestine either because the are Muslim, Communist (anything anti Israel=anti USA) or naive, stupid and foolish. Until the terrorists are removed from government and the people given a voice, no-one should recognise Gaza or the West Bank

        • At what point would that be i.e. when will palestine have a gevernment YOU approve of. One which will surrender completly to Israel

  10. I know it’s a moot point but, what if Sporcle had existed in the 1980s? Would Ukraine and Byelorussia (now Belarus) have been considered among the countries of the world or not? I only ask this because of point #3 in the “Nations not recognized.”

    From that point, “[England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland] don’t handle their own national defense or foreign relations, and they do not have a place in the U.N. outside of the UK.” Now, neither Ukraine nor Byelorussia handled their own defenses or foreign relations but BOTH had seats in the UN. Of course, now, both ARE countries by Sporcle’s definitions but would they have fallen into some gray area from 1945 to the late 1980s or would Sporcle have completely ignored the “UN effect” in deciding on whether a country was, in fact, a country?

    • Just to point this out, Ukraine and Byelorussia were only admitted due to a demand by the USSR that all of the constituent SRs be admitted as member states. The US actually counterargued that the UN should therefore allow all 48 (at that time) states to join separately. In then end, the USSR was granted those two seats as a concession; it wasn’t really a UN admission of statehood.

  11. Why is Cyprus included in the European quiz when it’s not in Europe at all, but Kazakhstan, Georgia and Azerbaijan aren’t included when they are partly in Europe? Some consistency would be helpful.

    • I think it’ll be because Cyprus is more closely tied to Europe than the three you mentioned, both economically and politically. And culturally for that matter.

      • Then they shouldn’t be in the geography section on Sporcle, I assumed the geography section contained geographical quizzes.

  12. I’m a US citizen living in the PRC. So this litmus test makes more sense to me…
    Two questions:
    1) If I am a citizen, can this country issue a passport for me with its own name on it?
    2) If I am a citizen elsewhere but travel there, will my passport stamp be from this country?
    If the answer is “yes” to either question, it’s a country.

  13. Regarding “England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland: While these four are referred to as countries in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, they are no more independent nations than the state of Texas or California” – that is an oversimplification. They are more independent than US states are. Maybe they aren’t individually in the UN, but each of them participates in the World Cup as an independent entity. (For this discussion, ignore the fact that many people in Texas and California don’t even know what the World Cup is.)

    • There are quite a few territories that have FIFA membership and are eligible to compete in the World Cup, but aren’t independent countries: American Samoa, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Anguilla, Aruba, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Hong Kong, and Macau. They may not make it to the World Cup, but they do enter the qualification rounds. Thus, being a member of FIFA is not necessarily a sign that a territory deserves to be classified as a country.

    • Have a read of FIFA’s rules (they’re available online). According to them, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are NOT countries:

      “In this context, the expression “country” shall refer to an independent state recognised by the international community. Subject to par. 5 and par. 6 below, only one Association shall be recognised in each country.”

      However par. 5 says:

      “Each of the four British Associations is recognised as a separate Member of FIFA.”

      Paragraph 6 is about dependent territories, which explains why some of them have their own teams.

      So it’s simply not true that FIFA recognise England as a country just because England is a FIFA member in it’s own right. It says so right in their rules.

      I also don’t see how the British nations have more independence than the US states. Scotland has a fairly high degree of autonomy, but I still don’t think it’s as much as that of a US state. Then on the other end of the scale you have England. Although certain institutions are specific to England, there is no form of English government that controls them. They’re all controlled by the UK government, including all the non-English MPs. So clearly England can’t be considered to have any level of independence when it doesn’t have any form of self-government.

      Also you have to consider the distribution of sovereignty. In the USA there is a legal limit on the central government’s powers. It’s set out in their constitution what powers individual states have, and the federal government cannot legally overrule them. Sovereignty is shared between the central government and the states. That isn’t true in the UK. The UK government is the sovereign government, and can in theory overrule the devolved governments without violating any laws. It might be political suicide to do that, but it would be legal.

  14. I agree with The Cornballer, it would be nice on the Countries of the World quiz to change to a color fill-in and simpler lettering, although I have gotten all the countries more than onece.

  15. I’m a Jewish American with eligibility for Israeli citizenship, and I unequivocally support the decisions of the UN, Sporcle, or any other entity to recognize the State of Palestine as a sovereign nation.

    • As someone in the same situation, I can say that I DO support Palestinian statehood, but I also think that the entity, as it stands now, is not a sovereign nation. It does not have a single legitimate government, which is a very important part of being a country.

      • Exactly. There’s nothing wrong with recognising the people, and the need for a two state solution, but until the government/terrorists/scum/****s are removed from office, there won’t be peace, and shouldn’t be recognition.

      • @will
        The PLO is the one who submitted the bid for statehood so that would make it the official government making Hamas a defacto leadership controlling part of the territory. If you look at it this way then you have several sporcle countries that have the same situation: Georgia, Mali, Cyprus, Somalia, Azerbaijan. Just because the centeral government doesnt control all of their claimed territory doesn’t make them not a country.

        In my opinion Mali is to Azawad as Palestine is to Gaza,
        Therefore Palestine is a country

    • I think it’s funny how Peop are allowed citizenship of a country that they have never visited of even have family members who live there.
      But people who have livved on the same patch of land for genoratins are not allowed citizenship.

      Bor perhapse that a different issue but mabey it rases other questions surrounding statehood

  16. Politics aside, customary international law generally recognizes the Montevideo criteria, which are: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.

    Palestine is missing (b), and arguably (c). Under current Sporcle criteria, the Knights of Malta are a country.

    • The Knights lack (d) – since they do not want to. With (b) – Palestine has a defined territory, it’s maybe not universally accepted and they do not have complete control, but by the same reasoning Poland ceased to exist in 1939. (I want to make absolutely clear that this is only a comparison of the territorial integrity of both bodies, neither do I want to use it to argue for an independent recognized Palestine, nor do I in any way think that the countries involved are in any way comparable to each other).

      • The fact that they choose not to exercise it doesn’t take away their capacity. Poland did cease to exist in 1939, in terms of international law. Finally, what is their defined territory? Gaza and loosely defined areas of the West Bank? (There are technically zones in which the Palestinian Authority have varying degrees of control, but even those are blurry—I once had a run-in with PA police for being too close to the border with Israeli plates.)

  17. I’ll stay out of this argument… just wanted to ask though, when updating my quizzes, which capital should I use? “Ramallah” or “East Jerusalem”? It’s kinda a big deal seeing as my quizzes involve strings of letters and stuff. Either way, the other will be taken into account for bonuses, but still would like to know.