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Palestine as a State: What Will the Decisions of Ireland, Spain and Norway Change? – rts.ch

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Norway, Spain and Ireland announced their decision to recognize Palestine as a state on Wednesday. To date, 146 of the 193 UN member states have stepped up. But what does this recognition actually mean? Is this a symbolic gesture or a historic turning point?

The recognition of Palestine as a state represents “the only credible path to peace and security for Israel and Palestine,” the decision was taken by three European countries. Before Sweden in 2014, the few EU countries that recognized a Palestinian state were mainly from the former Soviet Union. The latter had already taken off before joining the EU.

Spain, Norway and Ireland join Slovenia, and the process began on May 9 with a ratification decree submitted to parliament for approval by June 13. Belgium, Malta and Canada are also considering this.

When the decision was announced, Israel immediately recalled its ambassadors to Dublin and Oslo for “consultations”. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz also reacted strongly. “Today's decision sends a message to the Palestinians and to the world: terrorism pays,” he said, referring to the October 7 massacre by Hamas.

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A simple historical significance?

According to Douglas Proudfoot, the former Canadian ambassador to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, the recognition, however, will have no tangible results on the ground. “Recognition of a Palestinian state is purely symbolic, and sometimes symbols are very important,” he stressed to Radio-Canada.

According to him, influence is more political in nature. “It puts some pressure on Israel, but recognizing a state does not create a state.”

The recognition of a Palestinian state is purely symbolic. That said, symbols are sometimes very important

Douglas Proudfoot, former Canadian Ambassador to Ramallah

Hugh Lovatt, a Middle East specialist at the European Foreign Affairs Council, judged that the announcement alone “remains of limited scope”. “On the other hand, it deals simultaneously with other dynamics in the region: the peace initiative of the Arab countries, the negotiations in the ICC, but also the International Court of Justice (…) It is necessary to transfer this dynamic to the diplomatic horizon. A lot of work,” he analyzes in Le Monde.

“Extremely Strong” symbol

Moreover, if this recognition step should not have any consequences on the policy followed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “the symbol is very strong at the European level”, supports Jean-Paul Chagnoloud, president of the Research Institute and the Mediterranean Middle East. Studies, in TF1. Indeed, to date, European countries that officially recognize Palestine as a state are few in international comparison.

With the exception of Iceland and Sweden, these are countries located only in Eastern Europe. Since 1988, the year Yasser Arafat declared Palestinian independence, some European countries such as Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria have officially recognized the Palestinian state.

Strengthen bilateral relations

Some experts say formal recognition of Palestine would improve its bilateral relations and allow it to establish embassies and negotiate deals directly as a sovereign state.

Acknowledging a state involves strengthening its bilateral ties, for example by establishing an embassy or consulate

Jean-Paul Chagnoloud, President of the Mediterranean Middle East Research and Studies Institute

“Recognizing a state involves strengthening its bilateral relations, for example by establishing an embassy or consulate, or granting diplomatic immunity to its representatives,” explains Jean-Paul Chagnold.

This recognition would allow Palestine and its citizens to bring cases in international courts to protect their rights.

A diplomatic tool

Finally, this recent recognition by three European countries, particularly the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, revives the idea of ​​a two-state solution.

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For Spain, Ireland and Norway, this is a diplomatic tool to put this two-state solution back on the table. Recognition of a Palestinian state is a “cornerstone upon which peace can be built”, Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said on Wednesday.

Recognizing a Palestinian state sends the message that there is a viable alternative to Hamas's nihilism.

Simon Harris, Prime Minister of Ireland

“Today we recognize the state of Israel, we recognize its right to exist in peace and security within internationally recognized borders, and recognizing the state of Palestine sends a message that there is a viable alternative to the nihilism of Hamas,” he said. Continued.

Strong opposition from Benjamin Netanyahu

Several Western European countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, France, and Germany, as well as South Korea and Japan, do not recognize Palestine but maintain diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority. For now, no Western G20 country has jumped.

As a reminder, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last January reiterated his opposition to the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state, despite repeated requests from US President Joe Biden.

Helen Krahenbuhl

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