Israel–Kosovo relations

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Israeli-Kosovo relations
Map indicating locations of Israel and Kosovo



Israel–Kosovo relations refer to bilateral relations between Israel and the Republic of Kosovo[a]. Although Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008, Israel has not recognised sovereign Kosovo, but in 2015, gave indications that its stance could change in the future.[1][2]

Political relations[edit]

Israel was reluctant to recognise Kosovo's independence in part because an Israeli Foreign Ministry official already quoted by The Jerusalem Post said in February 2008: "We haven't decided when we're going to decide, and instead will monitor events and consider the issue." [3]

According to the Jewish Chronicle, Foreign Ministry officials and politicians were privately voicing a general sympathy towards the Kosovar cause, however, Israel would still not recognise Kosovo.[4] Knesset member Ruhama Avraham Balila said in February 2008 that "at present the government of Israel has made [the] decision not to join the group of countries which recognised the independence of Kosovo." She also said that Israel considers the situation "very disturbing."[5]

On 28 April 2009, Arthur Koll, the Israeli ambassador to Serbia, said that though it had been more than a year since Kosovo unilaterally declared independence, Israel had no intention of recognising the declaration, and that "Israel is asked from time to time how solid this decision is, but the fact is that Israel's position has not changed throughout this time. The Serbian people and government should appreciate Israel's position, which also demonstrates the friendship between the two states."[6][7]

On 16 September 2009, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel is "monitoring the situation between Serbia and Kosovo" and that Israel hopes for "a really comprehensive and peaceful solution" which would be established through negotiations between the two involved states. Lieberman also said that Israel would be able to withstand pressure to recognise Kosovo because Israel has "been under pressure since 1948 on many issues and we know how to deal with any pressure."[8] During a visit to Israel in late October 2009, Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dačić, said that "Israeli officials have confirmed that Israel will remain firm in its stand [on Kosovo]."[9]

In June 2011, Lieberman said that Kosovo's independence is a "sensitive issue" and that Israel may recognise Kosovo after other countries like Greece and Spain accept it.[10]

In 2011, Serbia voted to recognize Palestine as UNESCO's 195th member, against Israel's wishes. Belgrade declared that it would not have opposed a resolution recognizing Palestinian sovereignty, had one come before the UN General Assembly.[11]


a. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 113 out of 193 United Nations member states.

See also[edit]