The Swedish government officially recognised a Palestinian state today, with Israel recalling its ambassador to the country over the decision.
The Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, said she hoped it would boost efforts to end decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “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,” she said.
“There is an ongoing debate in many other EU member states and hopefully also a move in this direction.”
The move drew praise from the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, but Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, called the move a “wretched decision” that would bolster extremists. A spokesman for the ministry later said Israel had recalled its ambassador for discussions.
Ms Wallstrom rejected accusations Sweden was taking sides. A total of 135 countries already recognise Palestine.