Feedback | Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Ireland, Spain, Norway announce recognition of Palestinian state

Ireland, Spain and Norway announced on Wednesday that they would recognise a Palestinian state on May 28, saying they hoped other Western countries would follow suit, prompting Israel to recall its ambassadors.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the move was aimed at accelerating efforts to secure a ceasefire in Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza.

“We hope that our recognition and our reasons contribute to other western countries to follow this path because the more we are, the more strength we will have to impose a ceasefire, to achieve the release of the hostages held by Hamas, to relaunch the political process that can lead to a peace agreement,” he said in a speech to the country’s lower house.

Israel launched its war in Gaza in retaliation for an Oct. 7 assault by Hamas that killed 1,200 people and took more than 250 hostages, by Israeli tallies. Israel’s operations in the enclave have killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

Spain and its allies have spent months lobbying European nations, including France, Portugal, Belgium and Slovenia, to garner support for the recognition of a Palestinian state.

“Today, Ireland, Norway, and Spain are announcing that we recognise the state of Palestine,” Irish Taoiseach Simon Harris said at a press conference in Dublin.

“Each of us will now undertake whatever national steps are necessary to give effect to that decision.”

He added that Ireland was unequivocal in fully recognising Israel and its right to exist “securely and in peace with its neighbours”, and he called for all hostages in Gaza to be immediately returned.

In Oslo, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, said the only alternative for a political solution between Israelis and Palestinians is “two states living side by side in peace and security.”

AMBASSADORS RECALLED

In response to the announcements, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz ordered the immediate return of the Israeli ambassadors to the three countries for consultations and warned of further “severe consequences”.

“I am sending a clear message today: Israel will not be complacent against those who undermine its sovereignty and endanger its security,” he said.

Israel’s foreign ministry said it would also reprimand the Irish, Spanish and Norwegian ambassadors and show them a video of female hostages being held in captivity by Hamas.

Israel argues the only way to achieve Palestinian statehood is through negotiations and that bypassing this process would give Hamas and other militant groups an incentive to use violence.

Around 144 out of 193 member-states of the United Nations have already taken the step, including most of the global south, Russia, China and India, but only a handful of 27 EU members have so far done so, Sweden being the first in 2014. The United Kingdom and Australia have indicated in recent months that they could soon follow suit.

Palestinians seek statehood in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as their capital.

Israel’s staunchest ally, the United States, last month vetoed an attempt at United Nations recognition for a Palestinian state, arguing that a two-state solution can only come from direct negotiations between the parties.

(Reuters)

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