Norway, Ireland, Spain say they are recognising a Palestinian state

Tel Aviv: Norway, Ireland, and Spain said on Wednesday they are recognising a Palestinian state in a historic move that drew condemnation from Israel and jubilation from the Palestinians. Israel immediately ordered back its ambassadors from Norway and Ireland.

The formal recognition will be made on May 28. The development is a step toward a long-held Palestinian aspiration that came against the backdrop of international outrage over the civilian death toll and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip following Israel's offensive there.
In Jerusalem, meanwhile, a far-right government minister paid a provocative visit to a flashpoint holy site sacred to Jews and Muslims. National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, which Jews refer to as the Temple Mount, was likely to escalate tensions across the region.
Norway was the first to announce its decision to recognise a Palestinian state, with Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stre saying there cannot be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition.
By recognising a Palestinian state, Norway supports the Arab peace plan, he said and added that the Scandinavian country will regard Palestine as an independent state with all the rights and obligations that entails.
Several European Union countries have in the past weeks indicated that they plan to make the recognition, arguing a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region.
The decision may generate momentum for the recognition of a Palestinian state by other EU countries and could spur further steps at the United Nations, deepening Israel's isolation.
Norway, which is not a member of the EU but mirror its moves, has been an ardent supporter of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
The terror has been committed by Hamas and militant groups who are not supporters of a two-state solution and the state of Israel, the Norwegian government leader said. Palestine has a fundamental right to an independent state.
Since the unprecedented attack by Hamas-led militants on Israel on October 7, Israeli forces have led assaults on the northern and southern edges of the Gaza Strip in May, causing a new exodus of hundreds of thousands of people, and sharply restricted the flow of aid, raising the risk of famine.
Wednesday's announcements come more than 30 years after the first Oslo agreement was signed in 1993. Since then, the Palestinians have taken important steps towards a two-state solution, the Norwegian government said.
It added that the World Bank determined that a Palestinian state had met key criteria to function as a state in 2011, that national institutions have been built up to provide the population with important services.
The war in Gaza and the constant expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank still means that the situation in Palestine is more difficult than it has been in decades, it said.
In making his announcement, Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said the move was coordinated with Spain and Norway and that it was a historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine.
He said it was intended to help move the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to resolution through a two-state solution.
Harris said he thinks other countries will join Norway, Spain and Ireland in recognizing a Palestinian state in the weeks ahead.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Snchez, Spain's Socialist leader since 2018, made the expected announcement to the nation's Parliament on Wednesday. He had spent months touring European and Middle Eastern countries to garner support for the recognition, as well as for a possible cease-fire in Gaza. He has said several times that he was committed to the move.
We know that this initiative won't bring back the past and the lives lost in Palestine, but we believe that it will give the Palestinians two things that are very important for their present and their future: dignity and hope, Snchez said.
This recognition is not against anyone, it is not against the Israeli people, Snchez added, while acknowledging that it will most likely cause diplomatic tensions with Israel. It is an act in favour of peace, justice and moral consistency.
Snchez argued that the move is needed to support the viability of a two-state solution that he said is in serious danger with the war in Gaza.
I have spent weeks and months speaking with leaders inside and outside of the region and if one thing is clear is that Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu does not have a project of peace for Palestine, even if the fight against the terrorist group Hamas is legitimate, the Spanish leader said.
Earlier this month, Spain's Foreign Minister Jos Albares said he had informed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken of his government's intention to recognise a Palestinian state.
( Source : AP )
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