HomeTop StoriesIreland, Norway and Spain recognize the Palestinian state

Ireland, Norway and Spain recognize the Palestinian state

Ireland, Norway and Spain have announced that they will formally recognize a Palestinian state from May 28.

Spain and Ireland said the decision was not against Israel or in favor of Hamas, but rather in support of peace.

Israel responded angrily, warning that the move would mean more instability in the region and recalling its ambassadors in all three countries.

Both Hamas and its rival, the Palestinian Authority, have welcomed the recognition.

Norway was the first to make its announcement on Wednesday in a move coordinated with the other two countries.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a speech that the move was “in support of moderate forces that are on a retreating front in a long and brutal conflict.”

“This is an investment in the only solution that can bring lasting peace to the Middle East,” he added, referring to the so-called “two-state solution” where an Israeli and a Palestinian state would coexist peacefully.

Ireland and Spain followed suit shortly afterwards.

“Today we clearly state our unequivocal support for the equal right to security, dignity and self-determination for the Palestinian and Israeli people,” said Irish Foreign Minister Michel Martin.

The country’s Prime Minister Simon Harris later emphasized that “Hamas is not the Palestinian people.”

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“Today’s decision to recognize Palestine was taken to help create a peaceful future,” he said.

Harris’ comments were echoed by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who said the measure was “not against Israel and not against the Jews.”

“It is not in favor of Hamas, as has been said. This recognition is not against anyone, it is in favor of peace and coexistence.”

Israel reacted furiously to the announcements. Minister of Foreign Affairs Israel Katz said he ordered the immediate return of Israeli ambassadors to all three countries for “consultations.”

“Israel will not discuss this in silence – there will be other serious consequences,” he said.

He also said the ambassadors of the three countries to Israel will be summoned for “rebuke talks,” during which they will be shown a video of the Oct. 7 kidnapping of female Israeli soldiers.

Map of the Palestinian territories

[BBC ]

Hamas, which controls Gaza and is currently at war with Israel, said Wednesday’s announcements would mark a “turning point in the international position on the Palestinian issue.”

In a statement to AFP, Bassem Naim, a senior Hamas figure, said the “brave resistance” of the Palestinian people was behind the move.

Hamas’ rival, the Palestinian Authority (PA) – which controls parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank – said Norway, Spain and Ireland had shown their “unwavering commitment” to “deliver long-awaited justice to the Palestinian people.”

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The issue of Palestinian statehood has preoccupied the international community for decades.

Since the October 7 attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has doubled down on his opposition to such a plan, saying the creation of a Palestinian state would endanger Israel’s security.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a social media post on Tuesday that recognizing a Palestinian state would lead to increased “terrorism and instability in the region and jeopardize all prospects for peace.”

About 1,200 people were killed in the unprecedented attacks on October 7, when Hamas gunmen invaded Israel. They took 252 others as hostages to Gaza.

Since then, more than 35,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israel’s offensive in Gaza, according to the Hamas-led Health Ministry.

Most of the world already recognizes Palestine as a state. Earlier this month, 143 of the 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of Palestine joining the UN, something only states can do.

Before Wednesday’s announcements, only nine European countries supported Palestinian statehood, most of which made the decision in 1988 when they were still part of the Soviet bloc.

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Most other European countries, and the US, still believe that recognition should only occur as part of a two-state solution to the conflict in the long term.

Slovenia and Malta have also recently said they are considering formal recognition.

The Norwegian prime minister also said on Wednesday that he hoped the recognition of Palestinian statehood by the three countries would give renewed impetus to the peace talks.

Long-running negotiations in Cairo aimed at securing a ceasefire and further hostage releases are currently at a standstill.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate. Earlier this week, the UN said food distribution had been suspended in the southern Gaza city of Rafah due to a lack of supplies and insecurity.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) recently applied for arrest warrants against Mr Netanyahu and the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, for war crimes. Both Israel and Hamas have condemned the move.

Israel says an offensive in Rafah is needed to eliminate Hamas, but the international community has warned against it, saying it would greatly worsen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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