Ireland, Spain, Norway to formally recognise Palestine

Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz has ordered Israel's ambassadors from Ireland and Norway to immediately return to Israel.

Updated - May 22, 2024 10:21 pm IST

Published - May 22, 2024 01:10 pm IST - LONDON

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store speaks during a news conference in Oslo, Norway, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. Norway said it would recognise a Palestinian state and Ireland was expected to do the same.

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store speaks during a news conference in Oslo, Norway, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. Norway said it would recognise a Palestinian state and Ireland was expected to do the same. | Photo Credit: AP

Norway, Ireland and Spain announced on May 22 that they will formally recognise the state of Palestine, even as reports emerged of Israel pushing its way further into Rafah in southern Gaza . Israel reacted furiously to the announcements by recalling its ambassadors to the thee countries. The recognition of Palestine is expected to take place on May 28.

Speaking at a press conference in Dublin, Ireland’s Prime Minister, Simon Harris, linked the recognition to Ireland’s own freedom struggle from Britain.

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“Today, we use the same language to support the recognition of Palestine as a state,” Mr Harris said.

In a separate message released online, Mr Harris said Ireland believed that recognizing a Palestinian state would lead to peace and reconciliation in West Asia. Ireland also recognised Israel’s right to “exist securely and at peace” with its neighbours, he said.

There should be no further military incursion into Rafah (i.e., by Israel), and no further rockets fired at Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah, Mr. Harris said.

The European countries’ announcements come weeks after 143 of 193 countries in the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly voted for full membership to the U.N. for the State of Palestine. E.U. countries had mixed reactions to the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan’s decision to seek arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant for possible war crimes and crimes against humanity. Mr Khan is also seeking warrants for Hamas leaders.

“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,’ Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said, adding that the recognition of Palestine could no longer wait until the conflict was resolved.

Norway has been involved in peace talks between Israel and Palestine for decades, including by hosting the beginning of the Oslo process, which culminated in the Oslo Peace Accords in the early-mid 1990s, agreements that were meant to usher in a resolution to the conflict and a two state solution.

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Spain’s announcement on Wednesday that it would recognise Palestine was not against the Israelis, the country’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told parliament, but a step in favour of “peace, justice and moral consistency”.

The latest round of the conflict began when Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, resulting in some 1,200 deaths. Hamas also took 252 hostages. Israel began retaliatory attacks on Gaza shortly afterwards killing more than 35,000 Palestinians according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which is run by Hamas. The UN, which uses data from the Ministry, estimated that 7,797 children had been killed in Gaza as of April 30.

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