Which countries recognise Palestine as an independent state?

Ireland, Spain and Norway have announced they will officially recognise Palestine as an independent state.

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said this coordinated move by the three countries was a “historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine.”

The move was intended to help move the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to resolution through a two-state solution, he added.

In 1988, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), the main representative of the Palestinians, first declared the establishment of the State of Palestine. In practice, the Palestinians have limited self-government through the Palestinian Authority (PA) in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The PA lost control of the Gaza Strip to Hamas in 2007. The UN considers both territories as occupied by Israel and comprising a single political entity. Palestinians also want East Jerusalem as part of a future state.

The UK does not formally recognise the state of Palestine, though the foreign secretary, David Cameron, has previously suggested Britain is ready to give it official, diplomatic recognition.

Currently, 143 of the 193 member states of the United Nations recognise the state of Palestine. Palestine has been a non-member observer state of the United Nations General Assembly since November 2012. Earlier this month, the United Nations General Assembly granted Palestine additional rights, including being seated with member states, the right to introduce proposals and participate in committees. It still does not have the right to vote.

In the EU, Sweden is the only country so far to have recognized Palestine while being a member. Seven EU countries took the step before joining the Union:

  • Bulgaria

  • Cyprus

  • Czech Republic

  • Hungary

  • Romania

  • Poland

  • Slovakia

A number of other European Union members, including Slovenia and Malta, have indicated their intention to recognise the state of Palestine.

The EU itself and big countries such as Germany and France have “representative offices” (instead of embassies) in Ramallah and support the Palestinian authority financially. In February, President Emmanuel Macron said recognising a Palestinian state was “not a taboo for France,” adding “we owe it to the Palestinians whose aspirations have been trampled for too long.”

Among the G20, a group of world’s major economies, ten countries recognised the state of Palestine. These are:

  • Argentina

  • Brazil

  • China

  • India

  • Indonesia

  • Mexico

  • Russia

  • Saudi Arabia

  • South Africa

  • Turkey

Nine countries in the G20, including the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and South Korea do not.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz ordered Israel’s ambassadors from Ireland and Norway to immediately return to Israel in response – and said he would also do the same for Spain.

“Ireland and Norway intend to send a message today to the Palestinians and the whole world: terrorism pays,” Mr Katz said.

The recognition could impede efforts to return Israel’s hostages being held in Gaza and makes a cease-fire less likely by “rewarding the jihadists of Hamas and Iran,” he added.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Norway’s recognition of a Palestinian state and called on other countries to follow their example. In a statement carried by the official Wafa news agency, Mr Abbas said Norway’s decision will enshrine “the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination” and support efforts to bring about a two-state solution with Israel.