mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Is Sweden About to Recognize Palestine?

Sweden’s new center-left government has proclaimed its intention to recognize the state of Palestine, according to The New York Times:

The prime minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven, declared in his inaugural address on Friday that Sweden would take the step, without specifying when, though he also emphasized that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be resolved only through negotiations “in accordance with the principles of international law.”

Sweden would be the first major member of the European Union to recognize Palestine, although some East European countries did so during the Cold War, before they joined the union. Israel fears that Swedish recognition could lead other major European countries to follow suit, a trend Israeli officials argued would pre-empt the results of future negotiations over a Palestinian state within agreed borders.

The linkage that has so bedeviled thinking on the Middle East—that the Palestinian cause was somehow animating all Arab rancor—has been definitively destroyed in the past year, as the region has descended into chaos over nothing to do with Israel or the Palestinians. It’s a pity that the Swedes are persisting in this tired old line of reasoning.

The recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict has revealed virulent anti-Semitism in Sweden, particularly among the large immigrant Muslim populations of cities such as Malmö. We hope this declaration is not the start of a broader European trend, where politicians rattled by anti-Semitic exhibitions think it best to placate these factions using misguided policies rather than condemn their bigotry.

Features Icon
show comments
  • PDX_traveler

    And, I presume you don’t find it to be a tired old line of reasoning for Netanyahu to keep mouthing “…pre-empt the results of future negotiations over a Palestinian state within agreed borders..” while doing all within his power to keep stalling said future negotiations. For all the reasons you had to think up for the Swedes to (hypothetically) take such a step, you couldn’t come up with this as a possible reason for their actions also?

    • qet

      The “Palestinians” (that name really ought to be framed by quotes) have
      had ample opportunities over the past 30+ years for peace and a state
      and their leaders refuse it every time. The leaders–and this was true
      of Arafat and it is true today– would find formal statehood to signal
      the beginning of a probably quite rapid end to their power and
      influence. So the Swedes can posture and vent all they like; it only
      makes them look foolish.

    • Ofer Imanuel

      Check your information. The same deal (most of the west bank, exchange of some areas, demilitarized Palestinian state) was offered to the Palestinians twice by Clinton / Ehud Barak (,, and one by Bush / Olmert
      .Palestinians wouldn’t bite, as it required giving up the Right of Return.

  • Josephbleau

    Why do we know that Jesus was not born in Norway? Because it would have been impossible to find three wise men to come from the east.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service