Published November 30, 2011
Iceland took the historic step of being the first country in western Europe to recognise the state of Palestine, much to the joy of Palestinians living here.
Of the 63 members of Icelandic parliament, 12 were not present for the vote, 38 voted in favour of recognising the state, and 13 members of the Independence Party abstained from voting. There were no votes against.
RÚV reports that there was much celebration of the event, with Palestinians seated in the parliamentary gallery during the historic vote.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson said that he hopes that Iceland taking this step will “serve as an example, to other Nordic countries, for example, to support Palestine as sovereign, independent state”. He has said he intends to speak to other Scandinavian leaders to encourage them to do just that.
Iceland is far from alone when it comes to countries in the world that do recognise Palestine. Nations representing some 80% of the world’s population already do, but Iceland is the first country in western Europe to take this step.