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Ireland, Norway, Spain will recognize Palestinian state



Ireland, Spain, and Norway announced their recognition of Palestine as a state on Wednesday morning, a move that will likely only take full effect on May 28.

“Recognition is an act of powerful political and symbolic value,” Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said at a special news conference in Dublin.

“It is an expression of our view that Palestine holds and should be able to vindicate the full rights of the state, including self-determination, self-governance, territorial integrity, and security, as well as recognizing Palestine’s obligations under international law,” he stressed. 

The Palestinian Authority welcomed the move, while Israel recalled its Irish, Spanish, and Norwegian envoys and summoned the ambassadors stationed in Israel to the Foreign Ministry for a severe reprimand.

The coordinated announcements by Ireland and Spain, two EU countries, as well as by Norway, were spurred by the Gaza war and the decade-long frozen peace process.

Israel has argued that such a step, in the aftermath of the Hamas-led October 7 invasion of its country, in which over 1,200 people were killed and 252 seized as hostages, was a reward for terror.

From top left: The flags of Norway, Spain, Palestine and the Republic of Ireland (illustrative) (credit: INGIMAGE PICTURES, REUTERS)

The leaders of those countries have said, that a step is necessary to create a renewed diplomatic horizon for a two-state solution that would be beneficial to both Israelis and Palestinians.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told reporters at a special news conference in Oslo that “There can be no two-state solution without a Palestinian state. In other words, a Palestinian state is a prerequisite for achieving peace in the Middle East.”

They spoke out as the Gaza war is in its seventh month, with no end in sight, and as the aftermath of a failed bid by the Palestinian Authority to receive full United Nations membership.

Harris said that the three countries were sending “a message that there is a viable alternative to the nihilism of Hamas,” a group that “has nothing to offer but pain and suffering to Israelis and Palestinians alike.

“There is also no future in the extremist version of Zionism that fuels settler violence and illegal appropriation of land in the West Bank,” he said.

The three countries join 143 other nations that have already recognized Palestine as a state, but in 16 of the cases, full diplomatic relations have not been established.

‘No peace in the Middle East without a two-state solution’

Their announcement follows similar declarations over the last five weeks by Barbados, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago. 

Until now, most Western countries have refrained from unilateral Palestinian statehood recognition, believing that it should be granted only after the completion of a final status agreement for the two states.

The United States and the European Union have held to that view, as have most European countries. Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Poland had recognized Palestine when they were part of the Soviet bloc, long before they became EU member states.

Two European countries recognized Palestine, Sweden in 2014 and Iceland, in 2011.

Harris said he was confident that other Western countries would follow the Ireland, Spain, and Norway’s footsteps.

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said the conditions to officially recognize Palestine as a state have not yet been met.

“This is not just a symbolic issue or a question of political positioning, but a diplomatic tool in the service of the solution of two States living side by side in peace and security,” Sejourne said in a statement, adding: “France does not consider that the conditions have yet been met for this decision to have a real impact on this process.”

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