On Friday, Sweden’s new prime minister, Stefan Lofven, has used his first speech to parliament to announce that his center-left government is planning to recognize the state of Palestine.
Sweden will be the first major European Union state to recognize Palestine, and will probably be followed by many others. It is obvious that as things are heating up in Syria and Iraq and ISIS warriors are chopping heads and selling local captives in slave market, the most crucial area that needs attention is the two state solution.
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The only problem is, Lofven has no idea which Palestine he’ll be recognizing, and how to reconcile the vast gap between Gaza and the West Bank. Which is why he hasn’t indicated a particular date for the happy occasion.
According to the NY Times, Lofven leads a minority coalition government, comprised of his Social Democrats and the Greens, with only 138 seats in Parliament — 37 short of a majority.
Lofven told Parliament on Friday that “the conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be solved with a two-state solution, negotiated in accordance with international law.” Such a solution, he said, “requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful coexistence, ” and “Sweden will therefore recognize the state of Palestine.”
But, again, he made no time commitment.
Immigrants from the Middle East have been a rapidly growing share of Sweden’s population. According to the government agency Statistics Sweden, the number of Swedes born in Asia rose from just 1, 000 in 1950 to 295, 000 in 2003. Most of those immigrants came from Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Syria, according to Statistics Sweden.
Additionally, the birth rate among immigrants is higher than among ethnic Swedes.
Some sources estimate the current Muslim population in Sweden, including second generation Muslims and converts at close to half a million, out of 9.6 million.