Move Implies There Is No Israeli “Occupation” Of “Palestine”
By Tzvi Zucker
Tazpit News Agency
This morning, Sweden became the first Western European country to grant official recognition to the State of Palestine.
“Our decision comes at a critical time because over the last year we have seen how the peace talks have stalled, how decisions over new settlements on occupied Palestinian land have complicated a two-state solution and how violence has returned to Gaza,” Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom explained. “Sweden’s traditionally close ties with the State of Israel are now complemented by an equal relationship to the other party.”
Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded with a statement saying “The Swedish government should understand that Middle East relations are more complex than a piece of self-assembled IKEA furniture, and the matter should be handled with responsibility and sensitivity.”
The reasoning given by Mrs. Wallstrom was “The government considers that the international law criteria for the recognition of the state of Palestine have been satisfied. There is a territory, albeit with non-defined borders. There is also a population. And there is a government with the capacity for internal and external control…..Sweden has previously recognized states – Croatia in 1992 and Kosovo in 2008 – even though they lacked effective control over parts of their territory. Palestine is similarly a special case.”
This reasoning implies that the State of Palestine is not currently “occupied”, Eugene Kontorovich, a professor at Northwestern University Law School, said to Tazpit News Agency. “The legal definition of an ‘occupation’ is a loss of control over territory, and so if the Swedes are consistent with the definition they have given, they are saying that Palestine is not occupied.”