Palestinians celebrate by blowing something up in 3… 2… 1…

(Reuters) – The Swedish government officially recognized the state of Palestine on Thursday, the first Western European country to do so, reflecting growing international exasperation over the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom told reporters her government hoped it would bring a new dynamic to the situation.

“Our decision comes at a critical time because over the last year we have seen how the peace talks have stalled, how decisions over new settlements on occupied Palestinian land have complicated a two-state solution and how violence has returned to Gaza,” she said.

The move drew praise from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and criticism from Israel, and has displeased the United States, Israel’s principle supporter.

But Wallstrom rejected accusations that Sweden was taking sides and said she hoped other EU countries would follow its lead.

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