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145 countries now recognise a Palestinian state

BI Desk || BusinessInsider

Published: 01:03, 29 May 2024  
145 countries now recognise a Palestinian state

Photo: Collected

Israel's war in Gaza since the October 7 attack has revived a global push for Palestinians to be given a state of their own.

Norway, Spain and Ireland on Tuesday became the latest countries to recognise a state of Palestine, breaking with the long-held view of Western powers that Palestinians can only gain statehood as part of a negotiated peace with Israel.

Their move, which has infuriated Israel, brings to 145 out of the 193 UN member states that have recognised a Palestinian state, reports BSS/AFP.

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.

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

- 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.

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 pushed ahead with a campaign for full UN membership for a 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. In response, Israel and the United States suspended their funding of the 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 "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.

The move followed months of almost daily clashes in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

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 relentless offensive in Gaza, which has left at least 36,050 people dead, according to the territory's health ministry, in retaliation for Hamas's killing of more than 1,170 people in Israel, has boosted support in Europe for Palestinian statehood.

After months of warnings, Norway, Spain and Ireland on Tuesday finally took the step, with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez describing it as a matter of "historic justice."

Malta and Slovenia have also expressed "readiness" to recognise a Palestinian state when "the circumstances are right".

Australia too has floated the possibility of endorsing Palestinian statehood and President Emmanuel Macron has also said the question is no longer "a taboo for France" while insisting it must be done at the "right moment".