Sweden has recognised Palestine as a State. Palestinian authorities said that the decision is “courageous” and “historic”. Israel reacted with anger, defining the move as a “unfortunate decision”.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Sweden “needs to understand that relations in the Middle East are more complex than one of IKEA’s flat-pack pieces of furniture, and would do well to act with greater sensitivity and responsibility”.

But the Sweden Government said categorically that the international law criteria for the recognition of Palestine have been fulfilled.

Sweden “hopes that its decision will facilitate a peace agreement by making the parties less unequal, supporting the moderate Palestinian forces and contributing to hope at a time when tensions are increasing and no peace talks are taking place.”

“The purpose of Sweden’s recognition is to contribute to a future in which Israel and Palestine can live side by side in peace and security. We want to contribute to creating more hope and belief in the future among young Palestinians and Israelis who might otherwise run the risk of believing that there is no alternative to the current situation,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom, according to a press release.

But Israel thinks  this move will lead to the contrary. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that “the decision by the government of Sweden to recognize a Palestinian state is an unfortunate decision which strengthens radical elements and Palestinian recalcitrance. Such measures only serve to bolster the Palestinians’ unrealistic demands and delay an agreement.The only way to reach an arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians is for the parties to conduct sincere negotiations”.

Israel recalled its ambassador to Sweden for consultations

Very different, of course was the opinion in the Palestinian side. Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “this historic position will  undoubtedly salvage the two-state solution, and will give the Palestinian people hope that diplomacy is an effective tool that will eventually lead to achieving their legitimate right of statehood and self-determination”

“Sweden presents an outstanding example of practicing its sovereign decision to recognize the State of Palestine despite the tremendous pressure exerted on it. We call upon all other European countries to follow Sweden’s suit and stand up for justice and peoples’ rights.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs Riad al-Malki welcomed this recognition as well, and called on all countries, especially the United States and European countries to recognize the State of Palestine as soon as possible to rescue the two-state solution and help revive meaningful negotiations.

 

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About Olga Brajnović

Journalist. In my fifties. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US, and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.

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Middle East, World and Politics

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