Politics

Is Palestine a Country?

Palestine is recognized as a country by 136 out of the 193 United Nations member states.

Palestine is not a country. It is recognized as a sovereign state by 136 UN members. The Declaration of Independence and the Proclamation of the State of Palestine took place on November 15, 1988 in Algiers, Algeria. Since then, the objective of the Palestine Liberation Organization has been to attain recognition of the Palestinian state from the international community.

Background

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution in 1974, recognizing the right of the Palestinian people to attaining sovereignty. It also recognized the PLO as the sole representative of Palestinians and granted it the status of Observer in the United Nations. After the Proclamation of Independence, Palestine replaced PLO in the UN but Palestine has not yet attained formal status in the system.

Following the declaration, many countries, particularly developing states in Africa and Asia, recognized the state of Palestine amidst opposition from the US. The Arab League and Organization of the Islamic Conference officially recognized Palestine and it was accorded membership in both forums.

Since 1989, representatives of the PLO have been attempting to gain membership into several agencies connected to the UN. However, these efforts have been thwarted by threats from the US to withhold funding from any organization that admits Palestine.

Israel's Position

Between 1967 and the signing of the second Oslo Accord in 1995, no Israeli government proposed a Palestinian state. Most mainstream politicians in Israel opposed the idea even after the Palestinian National Authority was established in 1994. Ariel Sharon was the principal Israeli Prime Minister to declare that an independent Palestine was the solution to their conflict. This was the goal of his administration.

After the inauguration of the current government in 2009, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated that an independent Palestine posed a threat to Israel. Following criticism from the international community, Israel accepted the idea of a Palestinian state. However, they have refused to accept the 1967 borders, citing security concerns. Israel is also opposed to Palestine's plan of approaching the UN General Assembly claiming it is against the Oslo Accord.

Diplomatic Recognition

Of the 193 member states in the United Nations, 136 states had recognized the state of Palestine by September 2015. This is a 70.5% representation. These countries include Turkey, Serbia, Russia, China, and Sweden. The Holy See, which has the same status of a non-member observer as Palestine in the UN, maintains diplomatic ties with Palestine.

Entities Who Do Not Recognize Palestine

Most member states of the UN who have not recognized Palestine as a state are not entirely opposed to its independence. Entities such as Australia, Bahamas, and Japan support a two-state solution but insist on an agreement between the two parties. Some member states of the European Union such as Belgium and Denmark prefer to wait for the Union's formal decision. Entities including the United States, Colombia, Eritrea, and Finland are open about not supporting a Palestinian state.

Multilateral Treaties

The state of Palestine is a party to numerous multilateral treaties registered with six depositories. The six depositories are the United Kingdom, UNESCO, UN, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Russia. After the accession of the UNESCO conventions in 2011 and 2012, Palestine became a member of UNESCO. The other conventions were ratified in 2014 when negotiations with Israel hit a stalemate.

Countries Who Maintain Diplomatic Relations With Palestine

Countries That Recognize Palestine
Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Angola
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Belarus
Belize
Benin
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Brunei
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cambodia
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
China
Comoros
Costa Rica
Cote d'Ivoire
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
East Timor
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guiena
Ethiopia
Gabon
Gambia
Georgia
Ghana
Grenada
Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Holy See
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mongolia
Mongolia
Montenegro
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Nepal
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
North Korea
Oman
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Qatar
Republic of the Congo
Romania
Russia
Rwanda
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Slovakia
Somalia
South Africa
South Sudan
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Suriname
Swaziland
Sweden
Syria
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Thailand
Togo
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Uganda
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe

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