First observed in 1977, Palestinian solidarity day falls on November 29 each year, as, on that day in 1947, the General Assembly adopted of the ’Partition Resolution’, which provided for the establishment in Palestine of a ‘Jewish State’ and an ‘Arab State’.
On the occasion of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi in a statement expressed gratitude to everyone who supported the Palestinian statehood recognition.
“We thank those states that have recognized the State of Palestine and the parliaments and people around the world who have voted for recognition. We also appreciate the religious leaders, trade unions, artists, and civil society organizations worldwide that have stood on the right side of justice and supported the Palestinian people in their attempts to seek a just peace,” she added.
European Recognition of Palestine
The French and Irish parliaments have become the latest in Europe to call on their governments to recognise an independent state of Palestine, confirming a trend, alarming for Israel, that reflects changing public opinion across the continent.
In Paris on Thursday the senate ratified an earlier decision by the national assembly, while MPs in Denmark were holding the first reading of a motion urging the government to recognise Palestine as a state alongside Israel within its 1967 borders.
Wednesday’s vote by Irish MPs drew criticism from Israel, which argues that recognition prejudices the outcome of peace negotiations. The Israeli foreign ministry accused the Irish parliament of giving voice to “statements of hatred and antisemitism directed at Israel in a way which we have not heard before”.
Sweden has formally recognised the state of Palestine in October, the Swedish foreign minister said, less than a month after Stockholm announced its intention to make the controversial move, becoming the most prominent European country to do so and just the second after Iceland. All that official recognition means, really, is that it’s the official position of the Swedish government that Palestine is a country.
“Today the government takes the decision to recognise the state of Palestine,” Margot Wallström said in a statement published in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper on Thursday.
“It is an important step that confirms the Palestinians’ right to self-determination,” the foreign minister said. “We hope that this will show the way for others.”
Sweden’s new prime minister, Stefan Löfven, announced in his inaugural address to parliament in early October that his country would become the first EU member in western Europe to recognise a Palestinian state.
That means a lot in a situation this politically fraught. “The purpose of Sweden’s recognition is to contribute to a future in which Israel and Palestine can live side by side in peace and security,” Sweden’s minister for foreign affairs explained in a press release that also touts “a five-year aid strategy including substantially increased support to Palestinian state-building.”
Top Israeli and Swedish diplomats engaged in a heated spat following Sweden’s decision. Ambassadors were scolded and withdrawn, and pointed barbs were flung in both directions.
“The Swedish government needs to understand that relations in the Middle East are more complicated than a piece of furniture from Ikea that you assemble at home,” said Israel’s hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
But Lieberman’s Swedish counterpart was ready with a riposte.
“I will be happy to send Israel FM Lieberman an IKEA flat pack to assemble,” said Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom. “He’ll see it requires a partner, cooperation and a good manual.”
The exchange got picked up on social media. Karl Sharro, a London-based Lebanese blogger known for his biting political wit, made the following intervention on Twitter.
Israeli FM: Swedish govt needs to understand that relations in MidEast are more complicated than furniture from IKEA. pic.twitter.com/TYNY3T42yF
— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) October 30, 2014
The satirical map, done in the form of the Swedish furniture manufacturer’s cartoonish guides, offers a critical take of current Israeli actions that’s being echoed in the international community.
Elsewhere in Europe, the parliaments of Britain, Ireland and Spain have all passed resolutions urging their governments to recognise a Palestinian state.
The British parliament in October voted in favor of recognising Palestine as an official state, answering impassioned pleas by pro-Palestinian ministers and activists. While the measure was approved 274-12, the vote is largely symbolic, however, as it does not mandate the government to change its policies regarding the long-disputed territory. RT’s Manila Chan has more details.
This all reflects widespread European frustration with Israel’s continued expansion of settlements into the West Bank and East Jersualem, which the Palestinians and the international community regard as the future capital of an independent Palestine. Talks between Israel and its Palestinian interlocutors have collapsed. Tensions between Arabs and Jewish Israelis in Jerusalem have reached a boiling point.
Europe is behind the curve here. The bulk of U.N. member states already recognize Palestine, including the majority of countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. These things have a way of gathering momentum. Most of the countries in South America flipped positions to recognize Palestine in rapid succession in 2011. For now, the European votes, with the exception of Sweden, have all been nonbinding parliamentary measures, but if a large European power decides to recognize, the others could follow suit quickly.
The majority of countries worldwide might recognize Palestine, but non-recognition is still the mainstream position among rich Western countries.
President Abdulla Yameen has reiterated the Maldives’ support for the establishment of a Palestinian State on November 29th’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
“Acknowledgment and recognition alone are powerful gestures which can facilitate an international norm,” said Yameen.
“The Maldives welcomes all efforts towards this goal, during the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. We hope to see a future where Palestine emerges as a State with full recognition from the United Nations.”
Arab League foreign ministers have resolved to back the Palestinian bid for statehood in front of the United Nations Security Council by presenting a draft resolution determining a timeframe for creating the State of Palestine and “end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories” within the coming days, according to a statement by the Arab League two weeks ago.
The Council of Foreign Ministers assembled Saturday in Cairo to discuss the current situation in Palestine. The meeting was attended by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Map: The countries that recognize Palestine as a state
As you can see in the map, most of the other nations that have not officially recognized Palestine are in the E.U. or are U.S. partners who wouldn’t want to ruffle Washington’s feathers. These include South Pacific island nations like Kiribati and Nauru.
Even then, it’s quite likely that the U.S. will find itself on this map within a steadily shrinking patch of gray in the months and years to come.
What does all this mean in real terms?
The violence still continues daily, new settlements are being announced and all the while Palestinians are on the receiving end of all this.
Israel’s most recent transgression of International Law had seen Al-Aqsa mosque targeted and the unprecedented closure of Al-Aqsa mosque to all worshippers.
This is a hostile, disproportionate, and blanket deprivation of fundamental freedoms (including right of association, religious practice, a place of worship, and historic landmarks) targeted at a specific people classed by their creed, religion, or ethnicity- thus fulfilling the criteria for a variation of recognised atrocities.
How much longer will one state be allowed to undermine the legitimacy and supremacy of an international legal system which is respected by, and applied to every other state?
Time will tell, but support for an Independent state of Palestine is growing day by day from the International Community and countries all over the world.