Iceland has become the first western European nation to recognise the Palestinian territories as an independent state, after passing a motion in parliament.

According to a statement from the Icelandic parliament, 38 out of 63 members voted in favour of recognising the West Bank and Gaza as “an independent and sovereign state”.

Iceland will now make a formal declaration acknowledging the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) as the legal authority for a Palestinian state.

The Palestinians have so far only gained admission to the Unesco, but have struggled to obtain support for a planned bid for full statehood.