Iceland–Palestine relations

Iceland-Palestine relations



Iceland–Palestine relations refers to the relations between Iceland and Palestine. Iceland was the first Western European country to recognise the independence of Palestine. Full diplomatic relations exist between the two sides. 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 Iceland-Palestine Association (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:

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]

Reykjavík City Council attempt to Boycott Israeli goods

On 15 September 2015, Reykjavík City Council voted to boycott Israeli goods in municipal purchasing, in response to a motion tabled by Björk Vilhelmsdóttir. At the time of the vote, it was not yet clear whether the policy could successfully be implemented in terms of Icelandic law.[13] The move provoked swift and at times vitriolic criticism from supporters of Israel's handling of the Palestinian question, and on September 23 an extraordinary Reykjavík City Council meeting was called to withdraw the proposal. The withdrawal was approved unanimously at the Mayor's request.[14] The government of Iceland had immediately distanced itself from the motion, and Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson called it "ridiculous". Icelandic legal experts clarified that such a boycott is illegal both in terms of Icelandic law and of international regulations.


  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. " - " Um Félagið Ísland-Palestína Ísland – Palestína". Ísland - Palestína.
  5. "lífsreynsla -".
  6. Guðni Thorlaicus Jóhannesson, The History of Iceland (Santa Barbara: Greenwood, 2013), (p. 138);;
  7. "Mother and daughter from Palestine elected to local governments". Iceland Review.
  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.
  13. Paul Fontaine, 'Reykjavík Will Boycott Goods From Israel', The Reykjavík Grapevine, 16 September 2015,
  14. Paul Fontaine, 'On Being the Good Guys: What Happened With Reykjavík’s Ill-Fated Proposal To Ban Purchases From Israel', The Reykjavík Grapevine, October 2, 2015;
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