Sweden recognized the Palestinian state on October 30, 2014, becoming the largest European country to do so. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem announced the news, which immediately triggered Israel’s criticism and the withdrawal of its ambassador from Stockholm.
The move comes as Israel plans to build 1,000 housing units in East Jerusalem, which has brewed more controversy, prompting many states to criticize the move as a direct attack on the prospect of peace in the region.
Margot Wallstroem said today that, according to her government, Palestine meets the criteria to be recognized as a state: “There is a territory, a people and a government.”
She described Sweden’s move in this way: “It is an important step that confirms the Palestinians' right to self-determination. We hope that this will show the way for others."
She told reporters that Sweden was in fact the 135th country to recognize Palestine’s statehood. It is the third Western European country to do so after Cyprus and Malta.
Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi welcomed Sweden’s move as a “brave and historic decision” and said: "It is our hope that other EU member states and countries worldwide will follow Sweden's lead and recognize Palestine before the chances for a two-state solution are destroyed indefinitely.”