Home west asia Spain, Ireland, Norway Formally Recognise Palestinian State, Others Likely To Follow

Spain, Ireland, Norway Formally Recognise Palestinian State, Others Likely To Follow

The move means 146 of the 193 member states of the United Nations now recognise a Palestinian state, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said.
Palestine is formally recognised by Spain, Ireland and Norway.
A screen-grab from state television shows Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announcing Spain’s formal recognition of Palestine.

MADRID/DUBLIN/OSLO: Spain, Ireland and Norway officially recognised a Palestinian state on Tuesday, prompting an angry reaction from Israel.

Madrid, Dublin and Oslo said they sought to accelerate efforts to secure a ceasefire in Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza. The three countries say they hope their decision will spur other European Union countries to follow suit.

“It’s the only way of advancing toward what everyone recognises as the only possible solution to achieve a peaceful future, one of a Palestinian state that lives side by side with the Israeli state in peace and security,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a televised address.

Spain is recognising a unified Palestinian state, including the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, under the Palestinian National Authority with East Jerusalem as its capital, he said.

The move means 146 of the 193 member states of the United Nations now recognise a Palestinian state, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said.

Israel has responded to the recognition move by recalling its ambassadors from Madrid, Oslo and Dublin and summoning the three countries’ ambassadors to watch videos of Israelis being taken hostage by Hamas gunmen.

Sanchez sought on Tuesday to ease tensions by condemning Hamas and calling for the release of hostages. “It is not a decision we take against anyone, certainly not against Israel,” Sanchez said. “We want to have the best possible relationship.”

The Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under Israeli military occupation, has welcomed the decision.

Sanchez said Madrid would not recognise any changes to pre-1967 borders unless agreed to by both parties.

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs said last week it would upgrade its representative office in Ramallah in the West Bank to an embassy, appoint an ambassador there and upgrade the status of the Palestinian mission in Ireland to an embassy.

“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,” Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said in a statement on Tuesday.

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Israel has repeatedly condemned the decision, saying it bolsters Hamas, the militant Islamist group that led the deadly October . 7 attack on Israel that triggered the war in the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip.

“Sanchez, when you… recognize a Palestinian state, you are complicit in incitement to genocide against the Jewish people and in war crimes,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz wrote on X on Tuesday.

Of the 27 members of the European Union, Sweden, Cyprus, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria have already recognised a Palestinian state. Slovenia is expected to approve recognition on Thursday and Malta has said it could follow.

Britain and Australia have said they are also considering recognition, but EU member France has said now is not the time. Germany joined Israel’s staunchest ally, the United States, in rejecting a unilateral approach. It insists that a two-state solution can only be achieved through dialogue.

Denmark’s parliament on Tuesday voted down a bill to recognise a Palestinian state.

Norway had until recently followed the U.S. position but has lost confidence that this strategy will work.

Spaniards have traditionally leaned toward the Palestinians.

Since Israel began its offensive in Gaza following the October  7 attack, the number of Spaniards supporting a two-state solution has risen to 60% in April from 40% in 2021, according to a poll by the Real Instituto Elcano.

The move is part of a wider effort to coordinate pressure on Israel to end the conflict in Gaza, said Kushtrim Istrefi, a law professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

“We may see in the future another wave of recognition,” Istrefi said. “The more recognitions Palestine achieves, the more we move towards a reality where a two-state solution from an international law standpoint becomes a reality.”

The conflict has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry. Israel says the October  7 attack, the worst in its 75-year history, killed 1,200 people, with more than 250 hostages taken.

“We are happy with the three countries that are standing with us and that have recognised us, (recognised) the Palestinian State,” said Falastin Al-Mansi, a displaced Palestinian in Deir al-Balah in Gaza. “We hope that you will put more pressure on Israel because we have had enough.”


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