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Spain, Ireland, Norway set to recognise Palestinian statehood

Spain, Ireland and Norway will officially recognise a Palestinian state on Tuesday, despite an angry reaction from Israel, which has found itself increasingly isolated after seven months of conflict in Gaza.

About 144 of the 193 member-states of the United Nations recognise a Palestinian state, including most of the global south, Russia, China and India.

Madrid, Dublin and Oslo have painted their decision as a way to accelerate efforts to secure a ceasefire in Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza.

While the declaration by the three nations is mostly symbolic, they are hoping it will gather momentum, spurring other European Union countries to follow suit.

Spain and Ireland will be the largest and most politically influential nations in the 27-member bloc to recognise a Palestinian state, joining Sweden, Cyprus, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria.

Britain, Australia and EU members Malta and Slovenia have indicated in recent months that they could follow their example.

But France said now is not the time to recognise Palestinian statehood, while Germany joined Israel’s staunchest ally, the United States, in rejecting a unilateral approach, insisting that a two-state solution can only be achieved through dialogue.

“We hope that our recognition and our reasons contribute to other Western countries following this path, because the more we are, the more strength we will have to impose a ceasefire,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on May 22.

The conflict, which was triggered after Hamas militants stormed across Israel’s southern border on Oct. 7 has so far killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

Israel says the initial assault, the worst in its 75-year history, killed 1,200 people, with more than 250 hostages taken.

The three countries recognised a Palestinian state with its borders to be demarcated as they were prior to 1967, with Jerusalem as the capital of both nations.

The move is likely to elevate diplomatic protocols, with representative offices in the West Bank upgraded to full embassies.

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

It also blocked Spain from providing consular services to Palestinians in the West Bank and accused Spain of helping Hamas. In response, Spain has escalated criticism, describing the Gaza conflict as a “real genocide.”

Spain said on Monday it would ask other EU members to officially back last week’s International Court of Justice order for Israel to halt its military assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

(Reuters)

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Last Updated: 15th Jun 2024