The growing recognition of Palestine's sovereignty from 1989 to 2024

Pro-Palestinian protestors hold a rally, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, U.S., May 31, 2024. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

The recognition of Palestine as an independent state has been a contentious issue in international politics.

This year, 143 out of 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly voted in favour of Palestine joining the UN, a privilege typically reserved for recognised states.

However, this move has deepened rifts between Israel and some European Union states, with Israel recalling its envoys from three countries for "urgent consultations."

Most of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia recognise Palestinian statehood. In contrast, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and many Western European countries do not. Despite these divisions, the number of countries recognising Palestine continues to grow.

This year, Spain, Ireland, Norway, the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Barbados have joined the list of nations recognising Palestine. This follows a series of recognitions over the past few decades:

Recognitions by Year:

2023: Mexico

2019: Saint Kitts and Nevis

2018: Colombia

2015: Saint Lucia

2014: Sweden

2013: Guatemala, Haiti, the Vatican

2012: Thailand

2011: Chile, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Lesotho, South Sudan, Syria, Liberia, El Salvador, Honduras, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Iceland

A visual representation of the countries that recognise Palestine

2010: Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador

2009: Venezuela, Dominican Republic

2008: Costa Rica, Lebanon, Ivory Coast

2006: Montenegro

2005: Paraguay

2004: East Timor

Recognitions in the 1990s:

1998: Malawi

1995: South Africa, Kyrgyzstan

1994: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Papua New Guinea

1992: Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina

1991: Eswatini

1989: Rwanda, Ethiopia, Iran, Benin, Kenya, Equatorial Guinea, Vanuatu, Philippines

In 2011, although Palestine's bid for full UN membership was unsuccessful, UNESCO granted it full membership, leading the US to defund the agency. The General Assembly further recognised Palestine as a "nonmember observer state" in 2012, and the International Criminal Court acknowledged it as a party in 2015. Notably, Sweden became the first Western European country to recognise Palestine in 2014.

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