Iceland–Palestine relations

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Iceland-Palestine relations
Map indicating locations of Iceland and Palestine



Iceland–Palestine relations refers to the relations between Iceland and the Palestine. Iceland was the first Western European country to recognise the independence of Palestine. Full diplomatic relations exist between the two states. Iceland's representative to Palestine is a non-resident based at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Reykjavík,[1] while Palestine's ambassador to Iceland is also a non-resident based in Oslo, Norway.[2]


Iceland has had the NGO The Association Iceland-Palestine (Félagið Ísland-Palestína) since 1987. According to its website, the association 'supports the Palestinian struggle against occupation and refugees’ right of return'. On May 18, 1989, the Icelandic parliament resolved to endorse the Association’s major goals, including both Israel’s right to existence and the claim of Palestinians to nationhood.[3]

Prominent Palestinian Icelanders include:

  • Salmann Tamimi, the head of the Icelandic Muslim Association, who came to Iceland in 1971.[4]
  • Salmann's sister[5] Amal Tamimi, 'a Palestinian who came to Iceland in 1995 as a stateless person', who is the second foreign-born person (and the first foreign-born woman) to sit in the Icelandic parliament (a substitute for Lúdvík Geirsson in 2011 and for Katrín Júlíusdóttir in 2012).[6]
  • Amal's daughter Falasteen Abu Lidbeh, who in 2008 became the first immigrant elected to Reykjavík City Council.[7]
  • The poet Mazen Maarouf, who came to Iceland in 2011 through the International Cities of Refuge Network and in 2013 was offered Icelandic citizenship; much of his work has been translated into Icelandic.[8]

In 2008, Iceland received 29 Palestinian refugees from the refugee camp at Al-Waleed in Iraq; their experiences were chronicled in particular by Sigríður Víðis Jónsdóttir.[9] The arrival prompted negative reactions from a few Icelandic politicians, which Bergljót Soffía Kristjánsdóttir has interpreted as an example of rising xenophobia in Iceland.[10]


On 29 November 2011, the parliament of Iceland passed a resolution that authorized the government to officially recognize the state of Palestine within the 1967 borders. The resolution was passed without opposing votes, although several opposition MPs abstained.[11] Össur Skarphéðinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, formally declared Iceland's recognition of the state of Palestine on December 15, 2011. Riyad Al-Maliki, the Foreign Minister of Palestine, visited Iceland to receive the diplomatic note in person and noted on that occasion that Iceland's recognition was important as Palestine was now recognized for the first time by a Western and northern European country.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland. "Afhending trúnaðarbréfs í Palestínu". Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland. "Diplomatic and consular list" (PDF). Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  3. ^
  4. ^;;
  5. ^
  6. ^ Guðni Thorlaicus Jóhannesson, The History of Iceland (Santa Barbara: Greenwood, 2013), (p. 138);;
  7. ^
  8. ^ Ekkert nema Strokleður, trans. by Aðalsteinn Ásberg, Kári Tulinius og Sjón (Dimma, 2013).
  9. ^ Ríkisfang: ekkert : flóttinn frá Írak á Akranes (Reykjavík: Mál og menning, 2011); cf.
  10. ^ For a survey see Bergljót Soffía Kristjánsdóttir, ' "Ég get ekkert sagt." Skáldskapur og hrun', Ritið: Tímarit Hugvísindastofnunar, (2011/2), 53--66 (p. 63, esp. fn 21).
  11. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iceland (29 November 2011). "Parliamentary resolution on an independent and sovereign Palestine". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iceland. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  12. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iceland (15 December 2011). "Iceland Recognizes Palestine". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iceland. Retrieved 2012-11-21.