In Historic Move, Iceland Becomes the First Western European Nation to Recognize Palestinian Statehood

Originally published on Tikkun Daily.

A rally for Palestine in Iceland. Photo by Karl Gunnarsson.

A rally for Palestine in Iceland. Photo by Karl Gunnarsson.

On Tuesday, Iceland became the first Western European nation to pass a parliamentary motion recognizing Palestine as an independent state. The motion – symbolically passed on the United Nation’s annual day of solidarity with the Palestinian people – backs a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, calls on both Israel and Palestine to reject violence and notes the question of Palestinian refugees.

Calling the vote historic, Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson indicated that Iceland’s move was precipitated by the Palestinians’ application for full U.N. membership – an application which has not been accepted by the U.N. Security Council.

Icelandic lawmaker Amal Tamimi, who was born in Palestine, applauded the move as a necessary step, stating, “I hope that more countries will follow suit.

As the Icelandic parliament moved to recognize Palestine, the Palestinian Authority made clear it intends to push forward with its U.N. membership bid:

Palestinian UN observer Riyad Mansour read a message from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at UN headquarters on the occasion of the day of solidarity with the Palestinian people. He reaffirmed the Palestinian’s bid for UN membership, saying it should complement peace negotiations, provided that Israel is prepared to negotiate on the basis of the 1967 borders.

Abbas said the Palestinians are not seeking “to delegitimize Israel” by applying to join the UN “but to delegitimize its settlement activities and the seizure of our occupied lands.”

With its U.N. bid stalled in the Security Council, it remains unclear whether or not Abbas will push forward with an attempt to secure a non-binding resolution in the General Assembly affirming Palestinian statehood. Such a resolution, if moved upon, would be almost guaranteed to pass despite opposition from the United States.

Follow me on Twitter @David_EHG

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About David Harris-Gershon

David Harris-Gershon – a blogger for Tikkun magazine and a freelance writer on Israel, the Middle East and America’s role in the region – has recently published work in The Jerusalem Post, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, AlterNet, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Colorado Review and elsewhere. His memoir – What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife? – is forthcoming from Oneworld Publications (2013). He received his MFA from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and has worked extensively as an educator, teaching creative writing and Israeli History / Jewish Studies in university and high school classrooms. Follow David on Twitter @David_EHG

Posted on November 29, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Well, the world didn’t end, the Sun didn’t go out–guess it’s okay to ack Palestine as a real
    place? When it has more acceptance as a nation, it can support technocrat/specialists meet
    ing to ‘negotiate’ the basic needs of both countries. A few points: The ARC, IL/Pal Boundry,
    Land-Swaps [or 25-50 year leases on highways, gated-communities], ports-of-entry. Pal air-
    space and corridor routes above highways and The ARC…Water and ‘discharges’, Electri-
    city, communications, re-affirm. of nuts-n-bolts matters from Oslo and later agreements. Is-raelis and Pals sit at same table, eye-to-eye, as equals–no more oppressor/supplicant crap!..Matters of common concern in Old City of Jewrusalem are agreed–and enforced. A
    common office builsding holding charts, copies of land documents and a scale ‘sandbox’
    type topo-map of Holyland including all of Palestine and much of Israel is consulted and
    tweaked when any common matters are agreed…The US shud keep mum and let IL and
    PS work it out and more countries come to see that Palestine lives–and shud be able to…
    Aaron Allen…

  2. [Aaron again]: I can’t help but think of ‘statehood’ as a condition similar to our US ‘statehood’–
    becoming a ‘province’ or ‘region’ of a larger nation…Maybe we shud use the term ‘Indepen-
    dence? Their is little doubt as to a country’s status if it is Independent…Like ‘Japan’, ‘Spain’,
    and a few others, we shud call it ‘Palestine’–not ‘the republic of’ or ‘the state of” etc? If one
    looks of older maps of the ‘Holyland’ it is called ‘Palestine’–works for me…Aaron Allen…

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