Norway, Spain & Ireland To Recognize Palestinian State

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Ireland has joined Norway and Spain in deciding to officially recognize Palestine as a state.

Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Simon Harris confirmed that his country will join Norway and Spain in taking the step. He said the three countries are coordinating the policy changes, in what he described as “an historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine.” He also expressed hope that the decisions will help push the Arab-Israeli conflict towards a resolution through a two-state solution.

The Norwegian government announced that it will recognize Palestinian statehood as of next week, while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanches told the lower chamber of the national parliamet that Madrid will also be formally recognizing the Palestinian state.

The three European countries will formally enact recognition on May 28 despite Israel’s warnings of the consequences.

RT reports: Norway is the tenth European nation to recognize Palestinian statehood. Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia did so in 1988, with Sweden joining them in 2014.

“The Norwegian government has decided that Norway will recognize Palestine as a state,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said, as cited in a statement on the government’s official website.

Oslo is making the move amid the conflict in Gaza, in which “tens of thousands [are] killed and injured,” Store stressed. The aim is to “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,” he said.

Shortly after the announcement by Norway, Ireland also said it is recognizing Palestinian statehood.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded to the developments by recalling the country’s ambassadors from Ireland and Norway for immediate consultations. The same will happen to the ambassador in Spain if Madrid makes a similar move, he added.

“I am sending an unequivocal message to Ireland and Norway – Israel will not let this go quietly,” Katz said in a statement.

By recognizing the state of Palestine, Oslo and Dublin “intend to send a message to the Palestinians and the entire world – terror pays,” he said, claiming that they are “giving a prize to Hamas and Iran.”

This “parade of stupidity” by EU nations will not deter Israel from achieving its goal of “toppling Hamas” in Gaza, Katz stressed.

Spain announced that it is recognizing Palestinian statehood several minutes after the statement by the Israeli foreign minister.

By recognizing Palestine, Norway is “supporting the moderate forces which have been losing ground in this protracted and brutal conflict,” Store said. Oslo is also sending a “strong message” to other nations to follow its example, as this could eventually make it possible to resume the movement towards a two-state solution, he added.

“There will be no peace in the Middle East without a two-state solution. There can be no two-state solution without a Palestinian state. In other words, a Palestinian state is a prerequisite for achieving peace in the Middle East,” the prime minister explained.

The move by Norway, Ireland and Spain comes just days after the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, applied for warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as well as three top officials from Palestinian armed group Hamas on accusations of committing “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

On Tuesday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that the bloc’s members will be legally forced to arrest Netanyahu if he arrives on their territory. “All States that have ratified the ICC statutes are bound to execute the Court’s decisions,” Borrell explained.

Niamh Harris
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