Updated May 22nd, 2024 at 16:55 IST

Norway, Spain and Ireland Decide to Recognise Palestinian Statehood

Israel has responded swiftly by recalling its ambassadors from Ireland and Norway.

Reported by: Sagar Kar
Representative image. | Image:AP
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In a significant diplomatic move, Ireland, Spain, and Norway announced on Wednesday that they will officially recognize Palestine as a state starting next week. This decision has provoked a strong reaction from Israel.

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris emphasized that Palestine deserves the same recognition as a sovereign state that Ireland achieved after its independence from Britain over a century ago. However, he clarified that Ireland hopes for renewed diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and does not intend to support Hamas.

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Israel reacts by recalling its ambassadors 

Despite this, Israel responded swiftly by recalling its ambassadors from Ireland and Norway. Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz condemned the decision, stating, “Today’s decision sends a message to the Palestinians and the world: Terrorism pays.” He highlighted the recent violence and atrocities committed by Hamas, criticizing the recognition of a Palestinian state as a reward to Hamas and Iran.

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What is Ireland's rationale? 

Harris defended the move, aiming to provide hope for the future and counter the destructive influence of Hamas. “Recognizing the state of Palestine sends a message that there’s a viable alternative to the nihilism of Hamas. Hamas has nothing to offer but pain and suffering to Israelis and Palestinians alike,” he stated at a press conference in Dublin.

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Standing alongside Harris, Irish Foreign Minister Micheál Martin expressed that this recognition should encourage Israel to engage in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority as equals. “We believe that the parties must, in the future, meet as equals — as two states, with the responsibility to come to a final settlement in direct negotiations,” Martin said.

A look at Norway and Spain's stance 

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide announced that their recognition of Palestine would take effect from May 28. They specified that the borders should be based on those before June 4, 1967, referencing the territorial lines before the Six Day War.

In Madrid, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez emphasized that this recognition is not against Israel or the Jewish people. “I want to make one thing clear, this recognition is not against anyone, it is not against the people of Israel, a people we appreciate. And much less is it against the Jews, an admirable people, whose history is linked to Spain. Nor is it in favor of Hamas, as some [far-right] Vox deputies say, in an attempt to take advantage of this matter.” He added, “The time has come to move from words to action.”

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Some European countries want EU to recognise Palestine 

Ireland’s decision follows discussions with the governments of Spain, Slovenia, Belgium, Norway, and Malta, all advocating for the EU to recognize Palestinian statehood. Currently, Sweden is the only EU member to have unilaterally recognized Palestine, though more than 140 of the 193 UN member states have done so. None of the G7 nations recognise Palestine. 

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Published May 22nd, 2024 at 16:55 IST