Middle East, News

67 years to Nakba, 135 countries recognize Palestine

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In 2012, Palestine was recognized by the UN as a non-Member observer state.

On May 15 of every year, Palestinians mark “Nakba Day” – when the state of Israel was founded in 1948 – to reaffirm their right of return to the lands from which their ancestors were forcibly displaced.

Since that year, the Palestinian cause has gone through several milestones, beginning with the armed struggle against Israel in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Another significant milestone was the acceptance of a political deal based on a two-state solution in line with the 1988 decision of the Palestinian National Council (the legislature of the Palestine Liberation Organization) in Algeria, and the subsequent peace negotiations in the 1991 Madrid Conference that led to the 1993 Oslo Accord.

With the collapse of peace negotiations 20 years later, Palestinians resorted to urging the United Nations and the international community to recognize a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, and to join international organizations and treaties, such as the International Criminal Court, which Palestine officially joined in April.

In 2012, Palestine was recognized by the UN as a non-Member observer state.

Two years later, an unprecedented international support for the symbolic recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders was voiced out.

This support was brought about by a series of motions adopted by a number of European parliaments. The Swedish parliament was the first to catalyze the momentum of recognition of the Palestinian state earlier this year.

In October, Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine, becoming the first European Union state to take such a move.
In this, however, Sweden was the eighth European state to recognize the Palestinian state after the Czech Republic; Hungary; Poland; Bulgaria; Romania; Malta, and Cyprus, which made their recognition some time before they became European Union members.

While Sweden was the 135th state to recognize the state of Palestine. Its October move reverberated in many European capitals. Five European parliaments followed in Sweden’s footsteps by symbolically recognizing the Palestinian state later.
On October 13, Britain’s House of Commons adopted a non-binding resolution, urging the government to recognize the State of Palestine.

A month later, the Spanish Parliament voted with an overwhelming majority on a non-binding resolution, urging Madrid to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

France followed suit on December 2, after a majority of French lawmakers approved a non-binding resolution, calling on Paris to recognize the Palestinian state.

On December 11, the Irish parliament adopted a non-binding bill, urging the Irish government to recognize the State of Palestine. A day later, the Portuguese parliament took a similar step.

In February, the parliaments of Belgium and Italy adopted similar resolutions.

Such a momentum encouraged a number of European Parliament blocs to suggest that the European Union, which has a total of 28 member states, recognize the State of Palestine.

Nevertheless, the European Parliament only recognized the Palestinian state in principle, without committing member states to do the same, a move some commentators attributed to what they described as “political considerations” within the parliament.
The overwhelming majority of countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America have recognized the state of Palestine, making up most of the 135 countries who had taken the move.

Resource: Anadolu Agency, May 11, 2015

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