In the midst of a stalled peace process and mounting political isolation for Israel, Sweden on Thursday joined over 130 other nations in officially recognizing the Palestinian state.
In response to the development, Israel immediately recalled its ambassador to Sweden, Isaac Bachman.
The formal recognition was announced by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Twitter:
— Swedish MFA (@SweMFA) October 30, 2014
"Our decision comes at a critical time because over the last year we have seen how the peace talks have stalled, how decisions over new settlements on occupied Palestinian land have complicated a two-state solution and how violence has returned to Gaza," Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom told reporters.
Most nations that formally recognize Palestine are in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Several European countries, including Iceland, are numbered among them, and earlier this month, the UK parliament passed a nonbinding agreement to recognize the Palestinian state.
Sweden's announcement follows a pledge by new Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, issued October 3rd at his swearing-in ceremony, to official recognize Palestine.
Israel faces growing international criticism, following its seven-week military assault on Gaza, in which 2,000 Palestinians (at least 75 percent of them civilians) and 72 Israelis were killed. Israeli forces shut down the Al Aqsa Mosque in Al Quds/Jerusalem on Thursday, prompting an outraged response, including from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Commentary and response to Sweden's announcement is being posted to Twitter.
I do not recognize Sweden's recognition of a Palestinian bantustan "state."
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) October 30, 2014
Yay - bring on the parades. Oh wait, checkpoints | Sweden becomes the 1st EU member to recognize a Palestinian state http://t.co/NnbfpId0nf
— Jareer Kassis (@JareerKassis) October 30, 2014