Which countries do not recognize Palestine, and which ones Israel?

Elizabeth Smith

In recent times, the conflict between Hamas and Israel has thrust the Gaza Strip and the partially recognized State of Palestine into the forefront of the global news cycle. But which are the countries worldwide that do not recognize Palestine as a state, and which ones do no recognize Israel?

Recognition status: a global snapshot

Following the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) coalition on November 15, 1988, claiming sovereignty over the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, the issue of recognition has become central.

As of November 2023, out of the 193 United Nations members, 138 (72%) formally recognize the State of Palestine.

The 55 countries that do not recognize Palestine

Despite widespread recognition, a notable portion of countries does not formally recognize Palestine as a state. Currently, there are 55 countries that fall into this category, each maintaining their stance on the matter:

  1. Andorra: No
  2. Armenia: No
  3. Australia: No, informal relations
  4. Austria: No, informal relations
  5. Bahamas: No
  6. Barbados: No
  7. Belgium: No, informal relations
  8. Cameroon: No, informal relations
  9. Canada: No, informal relations
  10. Croatia: No, informal relations
  11. Denmark: No, informal relations
  12. Eritrea: No, informal relations
  13. Estonia: No, informal relations
  14. Micronesia: No
  15. Fiji: No
  16. Finland; No, informal relations
  17. France: No, informal relations
  18. Germany: No, informal relations
  19. Greece: No, informal relations
  20. Ireland: No, informal relations
  21. Israel: No, informal relations
  22. Italy: No, informal relations
  23. Jamaica: No
  24. Japan: No, informal relations
  25. Kiribati: No
  26. Latvia: No, informal relations
  27. Liechtenstein: No
  28. Lithuania: No, informal relations
  29. Luxembourg: No, informal relations
  30. Marshall Islands: No
  31. Mexico: No, informal relations
  32. Moldova: No, informal relations
  33. Monaco: No
  34. Myanmar: No
  35. Nauru: No
  36. Netherlands: No, informal relations
  37. New Zealand: No, informal relations
  38. North Macedonia: No
  39. Norway: No, informal relations
  40. Palau: No
  41. Panama: No
  42. Portugal: No, informal relations
  43. Samoa: No
  44. San Marino: No
  45. Singapore: No
  46. Slovenia: No, informal relations
  47. Solomon Islands: No
  48. South Korea: No, informal relations
  49. Spain: No, informal relations
  50. Switzerland: No, informal relations
  51. Tonga: No
  52. Trinidad and Tobago: No
  53. Tuvalu: No
  54. United Kingdom: No, informal relations
  55. United States: No, informal relations

Many of the world’s Western countries, including the G7 countries, do not recognize Palestine. Instead, many maintain informal diplomatic relations.

In contrast, emerging major economies like those within BRICS and other G20 nations, including Argentina, Indonesia, Türkiye, and Saudi Arabia, officially recognize the state.

In 2012, the State of Palestine was also upgraded by the UN to become a non-member observer state, a status shared only by the Holy See of Vatican City.

The 29 countries that do not recognize Israel

As of November 2023, the majority of the United Nations’ member states, officially acknowledge Israel as a sovereign state.

Notably, all G7 countries are among those recognizing Israel’s statehood. Even the State of Palestine, as part of the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, recognizes Israel’s existence.

However, there remain 29 countries that do not formally recognize Israel:

  1. Afghanistan: never
  2. Algeria: never
  3. Bangladesh: never
  4. Bolivia: suspended/cut relations
  5. Brunei: never
  6. Comoros: never
  7. Cuba: withdrew
  8. Djibouti: never
  9. Indonesia: never
  10. Iran: withdrew
  11. Iraq: never
  12. Kuwait: never
  13. Lebanon: never
  14. Libya: never
  15. Malaysia: never
  16. Maldives: suspended/cut relations
  17. Mali: suspended/cut relations
  18. Mauritania: suspended/cut relations
  19. Niger: suspended/cut relations
  20. North Korea: never
  21. Oman: never
  22. Pakistan: never
  23. Qatar: never
  24. Saudi Arabia: never
  25. Somalia: never
  26. Syria: never
  27. Tunisia: never
  28. Venezuela: suspended/cut relations
  29. Yemen: never

Among these, with the exception of Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela, the majority are predominantly Muslim nations. Notably, countries like Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria have never acknowledged Israel’s sovereignty and technically remain in a state of war with it. Iran, despite having had relations with Israel in the past, severed all ties after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Cuba initially recognized Israel in 1949 but reversed its stance in 1973, actively supporting Egypt and Syria during the Yom Kippur War against Israel. On the other hand, some Muslim-majority nations, including Egypt, Jordan, and the UAE, have taken steps toward normalization with Israel over time.

Military conflicts involving Israel, particularly in the Gaza Strip, often strain its relations with other countries. During the Israel-Gaza conflicts, diplomatic ties have been severed by certain nations. Venezuela, for instance, completely cut off diplomatic relations with Israel during the 2008–2009 conflict, while Bolivia followed suit over the ongoing Israel-Hamas War.

As of November 2023, 85% of UN member states officially recognize Israel, in comparison to 72% for the State of Palestine.

Read also: Conflict in the Gaza Strip, who supports Israel and who Hamas? The major funders of the war

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