The Swedish government has officially become the first E.U. member to recognize a Palestinian state, as the newly elected PM, Stefan Lofven, announced this bold move at his swearing-in ceremony on October 3. Though this was, to say the least, a very positive statement which would put Sweden on the map as one of the top players in international affairs, nobody thought it would be determined this fast.
Margot Wallstrom, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, stated that “Some will claim that today’s decision comes too early. I’m rather afraid it’s too late,” which the Swedish daily, Dagens Nyheter, proudly printed on their front-page. “The past year, we’ve seen how the peace negotiations once again have halted, how decisions on new settlements on occupied Palestinian land have obstructed a two-state solution and how violence has returned to Gaza.”
Wallstrom continues by emphasizing on the importance and the mind-blowing value the recognition fulfills, as it aims to support moderate forces amongst the Palestinians, establishing a sense of equality for future negotiations and giving the youth of Palestine hope for a peaceful solution to this brutal conflict.
After this surprising move from the Swedish Prime Minister, Israel has publicly protested against the move. In fact, the Jerusalem Post writes that the public protest is actually feeding unrealistic Palestinian expectations of working out a resolution with the outer foreign community, excluding Israel.
Though Sweden might be the first E.U. member to recognize a Palestinian state, 134 countries has done exactly that before Sweden even got into the picture.
Picture Credit: Denis Danze