from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

Iceland, Palestine, and Israel

December 20, 2011

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Iceland recently recognized Palestine as a state. As I noted in The Weekly Standard,

according to Iceland, Palestinian sovereignty includes 100 percent of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. Palestine, as Icelanders see it, includes the Western Wall of the Second Temple, Judaism’s holiest site. The judenrein policy enforced by Jordan during the years it ruled Jerusalem would thus be reinstated. And Israel in any recognizable form would anyway disappear, for the Allthingi resolution calls for all Palestinian refugees--of whom according to the U.N. there are five million--to "return" to Israel.

Remarkably Iceland made this move exactly sixty-four years to the day after its ambassador to the United Nations played a key and courageous role in helping establish the State of Israel.  It is a marvelous story, told in full in the memoirs of Abba Eban (which I quote in the Standard piece). As I concluded there, "There will probably be very few Icelanders who know this story and wonder how their country fell from being a model of courage and principle to one of self-regard and mock bravery. One doubts it will be widely told in Reykjavik."

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