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Ireland, Norway and Spain recognize the state of Palestine

Kathryn Armstrong,BBC news

Irish Prime Minister: We asked the world to recognize us, now we recognize Palestine

Ireland, Norway and Spain announced they would officially recognize a Palestinian state from May 28.

Spain and Ireland said the decision was not against Israel or in favor of Hamas but in favor of peace.

Israel reacted angrily, warning the move would mean more instability in the region and recalling its ambassadors in all three countries.

Both Hamas and its rival, the Palestinian Authority, welcomed the recognition.

Norway was the first country to make the announcement Wednesday in a coordinated move with the other two countries.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a speech that the move was “to support retreating moderate forces in a long and brutal conflict”.

“This is an investment in the only solution that can bring lasting peace in the Middle East,” he added, referring to the so-called two-state solution, in which one state is Israel and one state Palestine exists peacefully side by side.

Ireland and Spain followed suit soon after.

“Today, we clearly declare our support for the equal rights to security, dignity and self-determination of the Palestinian and Israeli people,” said Irish Foreign Secretary Micheál Martin.

Prime Minister Simon Harris later emphasized that “Hamas is not Palestinian”.

“Today’s decision to recognize Palestine was taken to help create a future of peace,” he said.

Mr Harris’s comments were echoed by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who said the move was “not against Israel, not against the Jews”.

“What was said is not in favor of Hamas. This recognition is not against anyone, it is in favor of peace and coexistence.”

Israel reacted to this announcement angrily. Foreign Minister Israel Katz said he had ordered the immediate return of Israeli ambassadors to all three countries for “consultations”.

“Israel will not solve this problem in silence – there will be other serious consequences,” he said.

Mr. Katz also said that the three countries’ ambassadors to Israel will be summoned for a “reprimand discussion” during which they will be shown a video of the kidnapping of female Israeli soldiers on October 7.

Map showing Israel, the occupied West Bank, and the Gaza Strip

Hamas, the force that controls Gaza and is currently at war with Israelsaid Wednesday’s announcement would be a “turning point in the international stance on the Palestinian issue”.

In a statement to AFP, Bassem Naim, a senior Hamas figure, said the “courageous resistance” of the Palestinian people was behind the action.

Hamas’s rival, the Palestinian Authority (PA) – which controls parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank – said Norway, Spain and Ireland had shown their “steadfast commitment” to “bringing bring long overdue justice to the Palestinian people.”

Also on Wednesday, the Israeli military approved the return of Israeli citizens to the sites of three settlements in the occupied West Bank, where they have been banned from entering since 2005.

The Israeli Parliament already exists voted to allow its citizens back last Marchbut military permission is needed for the bill to be implemented.

Most of the international community considers these settlements illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.

The issue of a Palestinian state has vexed the international community for decades.

Since the October 7 attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stepped up his opposition to such a plan, saying that establishing a Palestinian state would harm Israel’s security.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a social media post on Tuesday that recognizing a Palestinian state would lead to further “terrorism, instability in the region and jeopardize any prospects for peace”.

About 1,200 people were killed in unprecedented attacks on October 7, when Hamas gunmen stormed Israel. They took another 252 people back to Gaza as hostages.

Since then, more than 35,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israel’s attack on Gaza, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

Most of the world has recognized the Palestinian state. Earlier this month, 143 of the 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of the country joining the United Nations, something only states can do.

Before Wednesday’s announcement, only nine European countries supported Palestinian statehood, and most of them made the decision in 1988 when they were part of the Soviet bloc.

Most other European countries and the US still believe that recognition should only come as part of a long-term two-state solution to the conflict.

A White House spokesman said US President Joe Biden is a “strong supporter” of the two-state solution and believes that “a Palestinian state should be realized through direct negotiations, not through democracy.” unilateral acceptance”.

Slovenia and Malta also recently said they were considering formal recognition.

Norway’s Prime Minister also said Wednesday that he hopes the three countries’ recognition of the Palestinian state will bring new momentum to peace negotiations.

Long-running negotiations in Cairo aimed at securing a ceasefire and releasing more hostages are currently stalled.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate. Earlier this week, the United Nations said Food distribution in the southern Gaza city of Rafah has been suspended due to lack of supplies and insecurity.

Recently, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). has applied for an arrest warrant for Netanyahu and the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, for war crimes. Both Israel and Hamas condemned this action.

Israel says an offensive in Rafah is needed to eliminate Hamas but the international community has warned against it, saying it would worsen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.


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