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Iceland's Parliament Becomes First in the West to Recognize 'Sovereign' Palestinian State


"...an independent and sovereign state within the pre-1967 Six Day War borders."

This one may not go over too well with the Obama administration.

The Iceland Review is reporting that Alþingi, Iceland's parliament, approved a resolution yesterday that would recognize an "independent and sovereign State of Palestine."

Even more interesting than the actual resolution is the fact that the recognition focuses upon Palestine as it stood before the 1967 Six Day War (it should be noted that Obama has, in the past, also called for a return to these borders). Oddly, the resolution was taken up with no objections, as 38 votes were cast in favor of it; 13 lawmakers abstained.

Alþingi also took the opportunity to encourage the Israelis and Palestinians to seek a peace agreement that is predicated upon international law. Additionally, the resolution's wording asks both parties to stop all violent acts and to come together and respect human life. According to the Review, the text of the resolution reads:

“Alþingi resolves to entrust the government to recognize Palestine as an independent and sovereign state within the pre-1967 Six Day War borders.

Also, Alþingi urges Israelis and Palestinians to reconcile through the means of peace agreements on the basis of international law and resolutions of the United Nations, including the mutual recognition of the State of Israel and the State of Palestine.

Alþingi reaffirms that the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization, is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and also recalls the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes in accordance with resolutions reaffirmed by the United Nations.

Alþingi demands that the conflicting parties in the Arab-Israeli Conflict cease warfare and acts of violence forthwith and respect human rights and humanitarian law.”

Commentary's Evelyn Gordon writes, "...the parliament of Iceland...on Tuesday became the first Western parliament to officially call for Israel’s eradication."

While these are certainly strong words, some of the language in the resolution does, indeed, seem to call for a scaled-back version of Israel. Gordon continues:

...the resolution declared that it isn’t enough for the Palestinians to have one state; they ought to have two: one in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and another in pre-1967 Israel, which would be converted from a Jewish-majority to a Palestinian-majority state by flooding it with some five million descendants of the 1948 refugees.

That, after all, is how Palestinians interpret the “right of return,” and having accepted the Palestinian position on every other issue – from where the border should lie to whether or not peace with Israel must precede statehood –there’s no reason to think the resolution didn’t intend to adopt the Palestinian position on this issue as well. Indeed, that’s the literal meaning of the phrase “return to their former homes”; diplomats seeking to square the circle of the Palestinian demand for a “right of return” and the Israeli insistence on not committing national suicide usually use some variant like “a right of return to the Palestinian state.”

The Blaze covered this very issue back in October, as we exposed what a return to pre-1967 borders would look like:

...Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked the Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state based on the 1947 UN Partition Plan – an area much larger than that designated by the 1967 borders – stripping Israel of its only major international airport and its entire capital, Jerusalem. The 1967 borders had until now been the publicly stated demand of the Palestinians and their supporters in Europe and the United States, even as Israel has held 1967 lines leave the country nine miles wide and thus indefensible.

In addition to the obvious issues associated with amending borders, there are some differences between the parliament's and President Barack Obama's views on international interference in the matter. In a speech before the U.N. General Assembly in September, Obama uttered some words that seem to contradict Iceland's parliament on the matter of solving the Middle Eastern crisis.

“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N. – if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now,” Obama said. “Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians – not us – who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them.”

The Alþingi resolution, though, seems to hinge on U.N. resolutions and international law -- the very elements the president claims cannot solve the issues at hand.

Regardless of what happens next, Iceland has distinguished itself as having the first Western parliament to endorse an official Palestinian state. That being said, the recognition, Haaretz reports, will likely amount to nothing more than a "symbolic step."

(H/T: Iceland Review)


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