Ireland, Norway and Spain move to recognise Palestinian state

Thursday, May 23, 2024

JERUSALEM: Israel reacted with fury after three European countries said Wednesday they would recognise a Palestinian state, more than seven months into the devastating Gaza war.

Ireland, Norway and Spain said they would formally recognise the State of Palestine on May 28, drawing praise from many countries in the Arab and Muslim world.Israel charged that the move amounts to “rewarding terrorism” after Palestinian militant group Hamas launched its October 7 attack which sparked the Gaza war.

Israel said immediately that it was recalling its envoys to Dublin, Oslo and Madrid for “urgent consultations” and also summoned the three European ambassadors for a rebuke.Foreign Minister Israel Katz charged that “the twisted step of these countries is an injustice to the memory of the 7/10 victims”. “They decided to award a gold medal to the murderers and rapists of Hamas.”

Most Western governments, including the United States, say they are willing to one day recognise Palestinian statehood—but not before thorny issues are settled, including on final borders and the status of Jerusalem.

But Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said that “recognition of Palestine is a means of supporting the moderate forces which have been losing ground in this protracted and brutal conflict”.

“In the midst of a war, with tens of thousands killed and injured, 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.”

Spain´s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez charged that his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu is “causing so much pain, destruction and resentment in Gaza and the rest of Palestine that the two-state solution is in danger”.

And Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris called the October 7 attack “barbaric” but stressed that “a two-state solution is the only way out of the generational cycles of violence, retaliation and resentment”.According to the Palestinian Authority, which rules parts of the occupied West Bank, 142 of the 193 UN member countries already recognise a Palestinian state. The Palestine Liberation Organisation, seen internationally as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, hailed the European moves as “historical”.