By Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
Last week, Sweden unilaterally recognized Palestine as a sovereign state. This sounds dramatic, and on one level it certainly is: almost every Western nation (as well as Australia and Japan) has yet to accept Palestinian statehood, waiting for a mutually agreed upon arrangement between Israel and Palestine. The only EU members that have recognized Palestine did so during the Cold War when they were part of the USSR’s Communist bloc.
From another perspective, Sweden’s action is nothing extraordinary–indeed, it is in line with the majority of the world’s countries. Nearly 70 percent of nations already recognize Palestine as an independent state. In 2012, the United Nations recognized Palestine as a ‘non-member observer state,’ although full statehood was blocked by the Security Council. Palestine’s staunchest opponents remain Israel and its closest ally, the United States, but both officially support Palestinian sovereignty as part of a two-state solution. Rather, they cite the behavior and political tenets of Hamas as an insurmountable obstacle for Israel’s safety, which is hindering the finalization of an arrangement.
Such an arrangement has been long awaited. The story of Israel and Palestine’s co-existence since Israel’s modern creation in 1948 is one of a desperate fight for survival on both sides and ever collapsing negotiations. Israel and the West Bank’s Palestinian Liberation Organization actually recognized each other formally at the 1993 Oslo Accords in anticipation of a two-state solution, but subsequent attempts to complete the settlement have been just that, punctured by periods of violent conflict. Israel has condemned Sweden’s decision as counter-productive, but after this summer’s seven weeks of devastating violence, including thousands of deaths, there must surely be a newfound exhaustion with the status quo.
BreakThru News talks to John Knefel of the Radio Dispatch podcast on BTR about these issues and more, including how many countries are likely to follow Sweden’s lead.
Host, Writer – Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
Video Editor – Andy Morell
Script Supervisor – Matthew DeMello
Research – Lisa Autz
with guest – John Knefel