Sweden became the first European Union country to recognize the State of Palestine

Oct 31, 2014 17:59 IST

Sweden on 30 October 2014 became the first European Union (EU) country to officially recognise the State of Palestine.

Israel protested against the Sweden decision and the Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned the Swedish ambassador shortly after the announcement.

130 other nations that already recognise the Palestinian State include Hungary, Slovakia and Poland although these three countries took this step before joining the EU. Non-EU member Iceland is the only other western European nation to recognise the Palestinian State.



Background

Palestinians are seeking to create a state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in Gaza with East Jerusalem as their capital. They also demanded that Israel withdraws from occupied Palestinian territories.

With the failure of direct peace negotiations with Israel, Palestinian authorities tried to approach the international community to recognise Palestinian sovereignty.

In 2012, the UN General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status to that of a non-member observer, giving Palestinian officials access to UN agencies. However, European Union countries had not given their full recognition of a Palestinian state.

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