Which countries recognize the state of Palestine?

AFP , Ahram Online , Wednesday 22 May 2024

Israel's more than seven-month war on Gaza has revived a global push for Palestinians to be given a state of their own.

File - Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour addresses the United Nations Security Council at U.N. headquarters. AP


142 of the 193 member countries of the United Nations already recognise the State of Palestine.

They include many Middle Eastern, African and Asian countries, but not the United States, Canada, most of Western Europe, Australia, Japan or South Korea.

In April, the United States used its veto at the UN Security Council to prevent a Palestinian bid to become a full UN member state.

In a historic move, the United Nations General Assembly voted by a more than two-thirds majority in early May on an Arab-proposed draft resolution to reconsider and support the State of Palestine's membership in the UN.

The resolution gives Palestine several rights within the UN assembly such as the right to introduce and co-sponsor proposals and amendments within the UNGA.

Palestine can also be seated among member states, and raise procedural motions, among other rights.

Here is a quick recap of the Palestinians' quest for statehood:

1947: Two states

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations adopted Resolution 181 (also known as the Partition Resolution) that would divide the historic Palestine into two states for two peoples - Jewish and Arab in May 1948 when the British mandate was scheduled to end.

However, the state of Israel was created but not the Palestinian one.

1988: Arafat proclaims state

On November 15, 1988, during the first Palestinian intifada, or uprising, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat unilaterally proclaimed an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

He made the announcement in Algiers, at a meeting of the exiled Palestinian National Council, which adopted the two-state solution as a goal, with independent Israeli and Palestinian states existing side by side.

Minutes later, Algeria became the first country to officially recognise an independent Palestinian state.

Within weeks, dozens of other countries, including much of the Arab world, India, Turkey, most of Africa and several central and eastern European countries had followed suit.

The next wave of recognitions came in late 2010 and early 2011, at a time of crisis in the Middle East peace process.

A host of South American countries including Argentina, Brazil and Chile answered calls by the Palestinians to endorse their statehood claims.

This came in response to Israel's decision to end a temporary ban on Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

 2011-2012: UN recognition

In 2011, with peace talks at a standstill, the Palestinians decided to push ahead with a campaign for full UN membership for the State of Palestine.

The quest failed but, in a groundbreaking move on October 31 of that year, the UN cultural agency UNESCO voted to accept the Palestinians as a full member.

The decision triggered a furious reaction from Israel and the United States, which suspended their funding of the Paris-based body.

They quit UNESCO outright in 2018, although the United States rejoined last year.

In November 2012, the Palestinian flag was raised for the first time at the United Nations in New York after the General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to upgrade the status of the Palestinians to a "non-member observer state".

Three years later, the International Criminal Court also accepted Palestine as a state party.

 2014: Sweden first in western Europe

In 2014, Sweden, which has a large Palestinian community, became the first EU member in western Europe to recognise a Palestinian state.

A state of Palestine had earlier been recognised by six other European countries -- Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania.

Israel reacted angrily to Stockholm's move, with then foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman telling the Swedes that "relations in the Middle East are a lot more complex than the self-assembly furniture of IKEA".

2024: New push in Europe 

Israel's brutal war on Gaza, which killed at least 35,647 Palestinians, has revived support in Europe for Palestinian statehood.

Norway, Spain and Ireland said they would recognise a Palestinian state by May 28, defying threats from Israel, which recalled its envoys from Ireland and Norway for discussions over the move.

Malta and Slovenia in March also expressed "readiness to recognise Palestine" when "the circumstances are right".

Australia recently too has floated the possibility of unilaterally endorsing Palestinian statehood.

President Emmanuel Macron has also said the question of recognising a Palestinian state without a negotiated peace is no longer "a taboo for France".


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