Author Niina Ratilainen, original in Finnish: Suomen on tunnustettava Palestiinan valtio – niina Ratilainen

Today, Norway, Spain and Ireland have recognised the State of Palestine. Up to this week, 143 UN Member States have already done the same. Sweden already recognised Palestine in 2014, but there are still few EU countries among the 143. Following the announcement by Spain and Ireland, all EU countries will have to assess their own attitude towards promoting lasting peace in the Middle East. Malta and Slovenia, at least, are already considering recognising Palestine.

The Finnish Government must begin preparations for the recognition of the State of Palestine.

It is important that Finland plays an active role in this matter in the European Union. The Finnish government and the MEPs to be elected in the June European Parliament elections must demand diplomatic support from the EU to reach negotiated solutions between Israel and Palestine, support for grassroots mediation initiatives and pressure to end Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. These measures would remove obstacles to sustainable peace.

According to Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, the formation of a Palestinian state is a sine qua non for peace in the Middle East. Earlier last month, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told Parliament that the international community could not help a Palestinian state if it did not recognise its existence.

The recognition of a Palestinian state would be an important step in Finland’s human rights-based foreign policy. It would also strengthen Finland’s position as an advocate of international law.

There can be no solution to the decades-long war in the region unless there are two genuine parties that can negotiate a ceasefire and peace. Finland supports the two-state principle in the Middle East. Now Finland must join the majority of the countries of the world and recognise a Palestinian state.

Niina Ratilainen