Sunday, June 23, 2024

3 European states to recognise Palestinian state

The leaders of Norway, Ireland and Spain have stated their countries will formally recognise Palestine as a state next week for the sake of “peace in the Middle East“, prompting Israel to immediately recall its envoys.

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said on Wednesday that a two-state solution was in Israel’s best interest and the recognition of Palestinian statehood would come as of May 28.

“There cannot be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition,” he said in Oslo.

Ireland’s prime minister Simon Harris made a similar announcement in Dublin, as did Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in Madrid, to applause in parliament.

“In the midst of a war, with tens of thousands killed and injured [in Gaza], we must keep alive the only alternative that offers a political solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike: Two states, living side by side, in peace and security,” Gahr Store stated.

“Recognition of Palestine is a means of supporting the moderate forces which have been losing ground in this protracted and brutal conflict.”

Harris told a news conference: “I’m confident that further countries will join us in taking this important step in the coming weeks.”

Ireland’s foreign minister Micheal Martin wrote on X that the recognition will take place on May 28.

Sanchez, while announcing that Spain’s council of ministers would also recognise an independent Palestinian state on May 28, accused his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu of putting the two-state solution in “danger” with his policy of “pain and destruction” 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,” Sanchez said.

Harris also added that Ireland was unequivocal in recognising Israel’s right to exist “securely and in peace with its neighbours”, and called for all captives in Gaza to be immediately returned.

“But let me also be clear, Hamas is not the Palestinian people … a two-state solution is the only way out of the generational cycles of violence, retaliation and resentment,” he continued.

At least 35,6400 people have been killed and 80,000 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The death toll in Israel from Hamas’s October 7 attack is 1,200, with dozens still held captive.

Israel immediately announced it was recalling its envoys to Ireland and Norway for “urgent consultations”.

“Today, I am sending a sharp message to Ireland and Norway: Israel will not go over this in silence,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a statement, adding that he planned to do the same with the Spanish ambassador.

The Israeli foreign ministry had earlier posted a video message addressed to Ireland on X warning that “recognising a Palestinian state risks turning you into a pawn in the hands of Iran and Hamas”, adding the move would “only fuel extremism and instability”.

Israel has announced plans for Palestinian recognition constitute a “prize for terrorism” that would reduce the chances of a negotiated resolution to the war in Gaza, which began on October 7 when Hamas fighters stormed into southern Israel.

Hussein al-Sheikh, the secretary-general of the executive committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), posted on X: “Historical moments in which the free world triumphs for truth and justice after long decades of Palestinian national struggle, suffering, pain, occupation, racism, murder, oppression, abuse and destruction to which the people of Palestine were subjected.”

Hamas called the decision by the three countries an “important step”.

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