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Spain, Ireland and Norway recognize the existence of a Palestinian state

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Ireland, Spain and Norway announced this Wednesday, May 22, that they are preparing to recognize the existence of a Palestinian state. These three European countries add to the 142 states that have already done so.

Nine of the 27 EU member states now recognize Palestine.  Ireland and Spain to be added soon - Credit: Joel Carillet / iStock
Nine of the 27 EU member states now recognize Palestine. Ireland and Spain to be added soon – Credit: Joel Carillet / iStock

This Wednesday, May 22, marks an important step in the evolution of relations between several European countries and Palestine. The leaders of Norway, Ireland and later Spain indicated in the morning that their countries were beginning a process to recognize a Palestinian state.

Expected approval

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Storr opened the ball on the morning of Wednesday, May 22 by announcing this recognition of the Palestinian state, which would come from May 28. With this approach, Oslo is a “Support for moderate forces” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Recognition can no longer wait for a peaceful settlement”, asserted the Prime Minister.

Shortly afterwards, Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris announced at a press conference: “Today, Ireland, Norway and Spain declare their recognition of the Palestinian state. Each of us will take national steps to make this decision effective.”.

Then the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced.On Tuesday, May 28, Spain's Council of Ministers will approve the recognition of a Palestinian state.”.

Announcements have been awaited for weeks since Pedro Sánchez published a press release in March with the heads of the Irish, Slovenian and Maltese governments expressing their desire to recognize a Palestinian state.

A third of European countries recognize Palestine

Today, 142 of the 193 member states of the United Nations (UN) officially recognize the existence of a Palestinian state. Norway, Ireland and Spain will soon be added to the list once their national parliaments have voted on the matter.

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Within the EU, the question of recognizing Palestine is even more divisive. This state is recognized by only 9 member states. Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Cyprus, and Malta (recognition for this country has not been fully implemented) did so as early as 1988 after Yasser Arafat's declaration of independence for Palestine. Sweden will join them in 2014.

Ireland and Spain will become the 10th and 11th EU member states to officially recognize Palestine (Norway participates in several European programs but is not an EU member state).

Israel recalled its ambassadors

In the long struggle with Palestine, especially after the bloody attack by Hamas on October 7, 2023, Israel did not wait to condemn this initiative of the European countries. On Wednesday morning, Tel Aviv recalled its ambassadors to Oslo and Dublin.

As a reminder, over 1,170 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the October 7 attack on Israeli territory. In response, Israel promised to crush Hamas by launching a military operation in the Gaza Strip. According to the health ministry of the Hamas-led government of the Palestinian territory, 35,647 people, most of them civilians, were killed during this Israeli military response.

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