|Click to enlarge: Countries recognizing the State of Palestine in green, with most recent addition highlighted. Palestine in magenta (circled). Map by Evan Centanni, modified from public domain graphic (source).|
Article by Evan Centanni
Vatican Recognizes Palestine
Last month the Holy See - the official administration of the Roman Catholic Church and government of Vatican City - became the latest national government to recognize Palestine as an independent country. The explicit acknowledgement of Palestine's statehood came with a treaty signed May 13, 2015, regarding the activities of the Catholic Church within Palestine's territory.
In the face of criticism from Israel's government and other groups, the Vatican played down the significance of the treaty, saying that the Holy See had really recognized Palestine ever since supporting the UN vote on Palestinian's statehood in 2012. However, official diplomatic recognition usually requires an explicit statement by the country's government, so the Holy See was presumed not to formally recognize Palestine until now.
Learn More: What's the difference between Vatican City and the Holy See?
Vatican City is now one of about half the world's countries whose government recognizes both Palestine and Israel as independent countries. But Palestine is recognized by only a few countries in Europe, and the Holy See is only the fifth European government to recognize since the end of the Cold War. The last was Sweden in October 2014, preceded by Iceland in 2011, Montenegro in 2006, and Bosnia in 1992.
| Country Name: |
• Palestine (English)
• Filasṭīn (Arabic)
• State of Palestine (English)
• Dawlat Filasṭin (Arabic)
• Jerusalem (claimed)
• Ramallah (administrative)
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) declared independence for Palestine in 1988, and has been seeking international acceptance for the proclaimed country ever since. Though its claimed territories are disputed and largely occupied by Israel, the "State of Palestine" is recognized by more than two-thirds of the world's countries, and is also treated as a country by the UN General Assembly, where it is an "Observer State" but not a member.
The Holy See also has Observer State status in the UN, making Vatican City and Palestine the only two countries that are acknowledged as independent by the UN, but do not have votes in the General Assembly.
The number of individual countries recognizing Palestine as independent has grown gradually over the past decades. Last year we reported that 135 UN member states officially recognized Palestine (70% of all UN members), and this is still the case today, since Vatican City is not a full UN member. Palestine is also recognized by the proclaimed government of Western Sahara, a fellow disputed country whose independence is not formally recognized by the UN at all.
Is Palestine Really a Country?
Palestine Recognized as a Country by the U.N.
Map of Countries Recognizing Kosovo