Sunday, June 16, 2024

Norway, Ireland, and Spain have announced that their countries will formally recognize Palestine as a state


The leaders of Norway, Ireland, and Spain have announced that their countries will formally recognize Palestine as a state next week to promote “peace in the Middle East,” leading Israel to immediately recall its envoys.

On Wednesday, Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre stated that a two-state solution was in Israel’s best interest and that Norway would recognize Palestinian statehood on 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, and Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez echoed this sentiment in Madrid, receiving 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 Støre said. He added, “Recognition of Palestine is a means of supporting the moderate forces which have been losing ground in this protracted and brutal conflict.”

Harris expressed confidence that other countries would follow suit in the coming weeks. Ireland’s Foreign Minister Micheál Martin confirmed on X that the recognition would occur on May 28.

Sanchez, while announcing that Spain’s council of ministers would also recognize an independent Palestinian state on May 28, criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for endangering the two-state solution 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.

Imran Khan, reporting from Amman, Jordan, noted that Malta and Slovenia were also expected to make similar announcements. “This is a momentous occasion for the Palestinians,” he said. Khan highlighted Norway’s historical role in the Oslo Accords of 1993, which recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

Diplomatic Editor James Bays pointed out that the move by the three countries was significant due to its “momentum and timing,” referencing the challenging week faced by Netanyahu, including the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) prosecutor seeking an arrest warrant for him and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearings on South Africa’s request to halt the Israeli offensive in Rafah, southern Gaza.

Saudi Arabia and Jordan welcomed the decision. Reporting from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Nida Ibrahim said the recognition was welcomed on the street, though it wouldn’t immediately change the reality for Palestinians amid intensifying Israeli attacks.

Israel swiftly announced the recall of its envoys to Ireland and Norway for “urgent consultations.” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz warned that recognizing a Palestinian state would “only fuel extremism and instability,” asserting that the move was a “prize for terrorism.”

PLO Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh described the recognition as a triumph for truth and justice after decades of Palestinian suffering. Hamas and Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti also praised the decision, calling it a significant step toward achieving “freedom and justice” for Palestinians and a setback for Netanyahu’s government.

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