In the "Jordan Valley" episodes of House of Cards, the characters routinely refer to "Palestine" as if it were an actual country. I have never seen real American politicians do that. Is the in-show universe different than our own, one in which Palestine became a recognized country?

  • 1
    Can you quote some examples?
    – Catija
    Jan 25, 2016 at 22:37
  • 3
    Palestine is still an entity with an actual governing body with a president and everything... we do negotiations between Palestine and Israel all the time... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli%E2%80%93Palestinian_peace_process
    – Catija
    Jan 25, 2016 at 22:43
  • 7
    I think you're overthinking it.
    – Catija
    Jan 25, 2016 at 22:45
  • 3
    You might have a point, since the US is indeed one of the countries that still hasn't recognized Palestine as a state. But - do the politicians on the show say this officially in the media, or just among themselves? Because the latter might seem plausible in real life.
    – Walt
    Jan 25, 2016 at 23:32
  • 3
    Interesting, I had no idea real-life American politicians didn't say "Palestine", so I asked about it on the Politics site: How do American politicians refer to Palestine?. I'm pretty sure that in Europe, even very anti-Palestine politicians who don't recognise it as a nation call it "Palestine", for the same reason you don't need to be pro-Scottish-Independence to call Scotland Scotland. Jan 26, 2016 at 14:12

2 Answers 2


To answer properly we need to understand something about this episode. Claire Underwood's main target in the Jordan Valley was to provide military assistance for which they need palestine support. But why treat them as state? For two reasons:

  1. It's an effective way to gain support in the United Nations (according to the plot) to counterpower Russia's power, who oppose to this action. This is because Petrov thought that the American troops in the region would be very close to Caucasus, a region where Russia needs to keep strong.
  2. In real life, George W. Bush Jr. and Barack Obama had/have good relations with the State of Palestine; even Bush referred Mahmoud Abbas (president of the State of Palestine) in official communications as "President" instead of "Chairman", as was done with Arafat; Chairman was limited to an organization while the treat of President is recognizing a nation, but not a state.

Maybe because it is? Well, more or less... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_Palestine

A nice map of all the countries that recognise Palestine as a state can be found here

  • 6
    I believe that's the OP's point, though... The US is currently not one of them.
    – Walt
    Jan 26, 2016 at 10:03
  • I think you're right Walt, my mistake.
    – dev1001
    Jan 26, 2016 at 10:56
  • Diplomatic recognition by many countries is basically all it has going for it to make it a country though. It lacks almost every marker of an independent state. It has no defined borders, it lacks meaningful sovereignty over any territory, it has no armed forces, no currency, no postal system, no customs and immigration, no passports, is not a "state" member of the U.N., etc.
    – JoelFan
    Jan 26, 2016 at 15:10

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