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World

Spain, Norway, and Ireland recognise Palestinian state

  • Three European countries believe their initiative has strong symbolic impact that is likely to encourage others to follow suit
Published May 28, 2024
Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Jose Manuel Albares (C), Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide (R) and Irish Foreign minister Micheal Martin join hands after holding a joint press conference at the Permanent Representation of Spain to the European Union in Brussels on May 27, 2024. Photo: AFP
Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Jose Manuel Albares (C), Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide (R) and Irish Foreign minister Micheal Martin join hands after holding a joint press conference at the Permanent Representation of Spain to the European Union in Brussels on May 27, 2024. Photo: AFP

MADRID/DUBLIN: Spain, Norway, and Ireland on Tuesday formally recognised a Palestinian state, in a decision slammed by Israel as a “reward” for Hamas, more than seven months into the devastating Gaza war.

The three European countries believe their initiative has strong symbolic impact that is likely to encourage others to follow suit.

As Oslo’s formal recognition went into effect, Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide hailed the move as “a special day for Norway-Palestine relations”.

Health ministry in Gaza says war death toll at 35,272

“Norway has been one of the most fervent defenders of a Palestinian state for more than 30 years,” he added.

Shortly afterwards, Spain followed suit, with government spokeswoman Pilar Alegria confirming the cabinet had formally recognised Palestinian statehood, qualifying it as “a historic day”.

Earlier, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said that such recognition was “an essential requirement” for peace, insisting the move was “not against anyone, least of all Israel” and was the only way to secure a future “Palestinian state living side-by-side with the state of Israel in peace and security”.

Recognising Palestinian statehood ‘essential for reaching peace’: Sanchez

The decision also reflected Spain’s “outright rejection of Hamas, which is against the two-state solution” and whose October 7 attacks led to the Gaza war, he added.

Ireland also recognised a Palestinian state and urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “listen to the world and stop the humanitarian catastrophe we are seeing in Gaza”.

“This decision of Ireland is about keeping hope alive,” Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said in a statement shortly after a cabinet meeting signed off on the move.

“We had wanted to recognise Palestine at the end of a peace process however we have made this move alongside Spain and Norway to keep the miracle of peace alive,” he added.

In its announcement, Dublin said it was recognising a Palestine as “a sovereign and independent state” and had agreed to establish full diplomatic relations.

An Irish ambassador will be appointed along with a full embassy of Ireland in Ramallah, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, it added.

‘Incitement to genocide’

The plans were unveiled last week by the prime ministers of the three countries, sparking a furious response from Israel, further exacerbating diplomatic tensions, notably with Spain.

Last week, Sanchez’s far-left deputy Yolanda Diaz hailed the move saying: “We cannot stop. Palestine will be free from the river to the sea”, which Israel’s Madrid envoy denounced as a “clear call for the elimination of Israel”.

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The slogan refers to the British mandate borders of Palestine, which stretched from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean before Israel was created in 1948.

On Tuesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz went even further.

“Sanchez, as long as you don’t fire your deputy and you recognise a Palestinian state, you are participating in the incitement to commit genocide and war crimes against the Jewish people,” he wrote on X.

On Sunday, Katz posted a video on X splicing footage of the October 7 attacks with flamenco dancing, saying: “Sanchez: Hamas thanks you for your service.”

Spain condemned the post as “scandalous and revolting”.

On Monday, Katz initiated the first of a series of “preliminary punitive measures”, ordering Spain’s Jerusalem consulate to stop offering consular services to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Differences within the EU

Recognising Palestinian statehood has provoked sharp disagreement within the 27-nation European Union.

For decades, formal recognition of a Palestinian state has been seen as the endgame of a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Washington and most Western European nations have said they are willing to one day recognise Palestinian statehood, but not before agreement on thorny issues like the status of Jerusalem and final borders.

‘Strong’ Palestinian Authority needed for Mideast peace: EU’s Borrell

The Gaza bloodshed has revived calls for Palestinians to be given their own state.

Tuesday’s move will mean 145 of the United Nations’ 193 member states now recognise Palestinian statehood.

In 2014, Sweden became the first EU member to recognise a Palestinian state.

It followed six other European countries that took the step before joining the bloc: Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania.

On October 7, Hamas fighters stormed into southern Israel in an assault that killed more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Hamas also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza. The Israeli army says 37 of them are dead.

Israel’s relentless aggression has killed more than 36,000 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

Comments

200 characters
Az_Iz May 28, 2024 04:57pm
Supporters of the Palestinian people all over the world, welcome this move.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
KU May 28, 2024 06:30pm
What about our govt, are we going to recognize Palestine or waiting for permission?
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply