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Ireland, Spain, Norway recognizing Palestinian state


Ireland, Spain and Norway are recognizing a Palestinian state, the three announced Wednesday.

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said the historic move was coordinated with the other two, marking “an historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine.” He said it’s intended to help get a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a two-state solution.

The official recognition by the three nations of an independent Palestinian state will take effect on May 28, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide told a news conference Wednesday, the Reuters news agency reports.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, his country’s Socialist leader since 2018, made the expected announcement about the recognition to his nation’s Parliament on Wednesday.

Spain's Prime Minister Sanchez announces recognition of Palestinian state
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announcing on May 22, 2024 that the country’s council of ministers would recognize an independent Palestinian state.

Violeta Santos Moura / REUTERS

Sánchez has spent months touring European and Middle Eastern countries to garner support for the recognition of Palestine, as well as a possible ceasefire in Gaza. He has said several times that he was committed to the move.

Earlier this month, Spain’s Foreign Minister José Albares said he had informed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken of his government’s intention of recognizing Palestine.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz ordered his country’s ambassadors to Ireland and Norway to immediately return to Israel and threatened to recall Israel’s ambassador to Spain if that country takes a similar position, which it since has.

“Ireland and Norway intend to send a message today to the Palestinians and the whole world: Terrorism pays,” Katz said.

He said the recognition could impede efforts to return Israel’s hostages being held in Gaza and makes a cease-fire less likely by “rewarding the jihadists of Hamas and Iran.” 

Earlier Wednesday in announcing Norway’s recognition of a Palestinian state, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said “there cannot be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition.”

“By recognizing a Palestinian state, Norway supports the Arab peace plan,” he said.

Several European Union countries have in the past weeks indicated that they plan to make the recognition, arguing a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region.

Norway, which isn’t a member of the European Union but mirror its moves, has been an ardent supporter of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The terror has been committed by Hamas and militant groups who are not supporters of a two-state solution and the state of Israel,” the Norwegian government leader said.

“Palestine has a fundamental right to an independent state,” Gahr Støre told a news conference.

The move comes as Israeli forces have led assaults on the northern and southern edges of the Gaza Strip in May, causing a new exodus of hundreds of thousands of people, and sharply restricted the flow of aid, raising the risk of famine.

The Scandinavian country “will therefore regard Palestine as an independent state with all the rights and obligations that entails,” Gahr Støre said.

Norway’s recognition of a Palestine state comes more than 30 years after the first Oslo accord was signed in 1993.

Since then, “the Palestinians have taken important steps towards a two-state solution,” the Norwegian government said.

It said the World Bank determined that Palestine had met key criteria to function as a state in 2011, that national institutions have been built up to provide the population with important services.

“The war in Gaza and the constant expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank still mean that the situation in Palestine is more difficult than it has been in decades,” the Norwegian government said.

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