Ireland, Norway and Spain to recognise state of Palestine

Ireland, Norway, and Spain have announced they will formally recognise a Palestinian state from May 28.

Spain and Ireland said the decision was not against Israel nor in favour of Hamas, but rather in support of peace.

Israel reacted angrily, warning the move would mean more instability in the region and recalling its ambassadors to all three countries.

Both Hamas and its rival, the Palestinian Authority, have welcomed the recognition.

Norway was first to make its announcement Wednesday in a move co-ordinated with the other two countries.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in an address that the move was “in support of moderate forces that are on a retreating front in a protracted and cruel conflict”.

“This is an investment in the only solution that can bring lasting peace in the Middle East,” he added, referring to the so-called two-state solution which would see an Israeli and a Palestinian state existing peacefully next to each other.

Ireland and Spain followed suit soon after.

“Today, we state clearly our unambiguous support for the equal right to security, dignity, and self-determination for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples,” Irish Foreign Minister Micheál Martin said.

The country’s Prime Minister Simon Harris later stressed that “Hamas is not the Palestinian people”.

“Today’s decision to recognise Palestine is taken to help create a peaceful future,” he said.

Harris’ comments were echoed by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who said the move was “not against Israel, is not against the Jews”.

“It is not in favour of Hamas which is something that has been said. This recognition is not against anyone, it is in favour of peace and coexistence.”

Israel reacted to the announcements with fury. Foreign Minister Israel Katz said he was ordering the immediate return of the Israeli ambassadors to all three countries for “consultations”.

“Israel will not go over this in silence – there will be other serious consequences,” he said.

Katz also said that the three countries’ ambassadors in Israel will be summoned for “reprimand talks”, during which they will be shown a video of the abduction of female Israeli soldiers on October 7.

Hamas, which controls Gaza and is currently at war with Israel, said Wednesday’s announcements would be a “turning point in the international position on the Palestinian issue”.

In a statement to AFP, Bassem Naim, a senior Hamas figure, said the “brave resistance” of the Palestinian people was behind the move.

Hamas’s rival, the Palestinian Authority (PA) – which controls parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank – said Norway, Spain and Ireland had demonstrated their “unwavering commitment” to “delivering the long overdue justice to the Palestinian people”. (BBC)

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