The Swedish government has officially recognized Palestine as an independent state amid fury from the Israeli government over the move.
“Today, the government takes the decision to recognize the state of Palestine,” Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a Thursday statement.
“It is an important step that confirms the Palestinians’ right to self-determination,” she added.
Sweden became the first major European country to officially recognize the state of Palestine, joining 130 other nations, including Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, that had already made a similar decision.
The move came less than a month after Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced that his government decided to recognize the state of Palestine.
The Israeli government has been sorely irked by the decision.
On November 29, 2012, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer state.
The observer state status grants Palestinians access to UN agencies and the International Criminal Court (ICC), where they can file formal complaints against the Israeli government.
Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.
Israel, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.
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