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  HOME PAGE 16/06/2024 05:17 
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Which European Countries Poised To Recognize Palestinian State?

23.05.2024 14:42

3 European states will recognize Palestine as state, while 4 other countries voice intention to follow suit, increasing diplomatic pressure on Israel as war in Gaza stretches into 8th month.

The recognition of a Palestinian state by Spain, Norway, and Ireland amid the ongoing Israeli war in Gaza could signify a substantial diplomatic shift, highlighting a growing European consensus on Palestinian statehood.

The move can be read as not only a call for a two-state solution but also pressing for an end to the conflict through political recognition.

Additionally, the fact that several other European countries have expressed their intentions to follow suit, even though they have not set an official date yet, suggests a broader momentum within the EU toward recognizing a Palestinian state.

This is also not just a sign of increasing impatience with the status quo. It's a clear indication of European states' proactive stance and their desire to actively contribute to resolving the conflict through the formal recognition of Palestinian sovereignty.

Norway is reportedly planning to upgrade its representative office in the West Bank to an embassy. However, no official statement has been yet made by the three European states on plans to open an embassy in Ramallah, following Colombian President Gustavo Petro's decision to establish an embassy in the Palestinian city on Wednesday.

This development marks the second blow to Israel's international standing, following the recent International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan's request for arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as three leaders of the Palestinian group Hamas for "war crimes and crimes against humanity" committed in Israel and the Gaza Strip.


Meanwhile, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to deliver on Friday its order on South Africa's request for additional provisional measures against Israel.

Reacting to the recognition decision, Israel has recalled its ambassadors from the three European countries.


Recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state

Three European countries—Norway, Ireland, and Spain—announced Wednesday their formal recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state, a landmark decision set to take effect on May 28.

"In the midst of a war, with tens of thousands killed and injured, we must 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," Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said.

Store stressed that 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," he added.

Recognition of Palestine "sends a strong message to other countries to follow the example of Norway and a number of other European countries and recognise the state of Palestine," the prime minister said.

Ireland's Prime Minister Simon Harris, in a separate announcement, said that his country officially recognizes the Palestinian state, describing the decision as "historic and important" for Ireland and for Palestine.


"I'm confident that further countries will join us in taking this step," Harris said.

He added that he has "spoken with a number of other leaders and counterparts and I'm confident that further countries will join us in taking this important step in the coming weeks."

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, for his part, said that his country will recognize the Palestinian state next Tuesday.

In his speech, Sanchez said he has been talking to leaders and studying the situation in Palestine and understands one thing clearly that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Netanyahu does not have a peace project for Palestine."

He said that Netanyahu is refusing to listen to the international community as he continues to bomb civilian infrastructure and block desperately needed aid.

The prime minister added that the recognition of Palestine "is not the end, it's only the beginning," and that Spain will continue pressuring the international community to take action.


Countries that have voiced intention to recognize Palestine

Belgium could not fulfill the expectations to join the announcement of Spain, Norway, and Ireland on Wednesday and missed a "historic opportunity" to recognize the Palestinian state, as the country's development minister said.

"Unfortunately, no Belgian recognition of the Palestinian state today," Caroline Gennez said, however, Gennez ensured that the work toward recognition continues.

"Belgium continues to work on timing and context to achieve recognition," she said. "However, the urgency is very great."

"Today, we are missing a historic opportunity," she lamented.

Previously, Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib said that the Palestinian territories would one day be officially recognized.

Malta, for its part, reiterated its willingness to recognize Palestine as a state. However, it added that such action will be taken "when the time is right."

"Malta has recently affirmed its readiness to recognize Palestine, when such recognition can make a positive contribution, and when the circumstances are right," a government spokesperson told the Times of Malta.


"In this regard, the government is monitoring developments in the Middle East, to determine the optimal time frames for this important development as soon as possible," the spokesperson added.

Earlier this month, Slovenia announced that it has initiated the recognition process.

However, the date of the country's recognition will depend on the success of the progress in peace talks, with June 13 at the latest, Prime Minister Robert Golob said.


Golob welcomed the decision of Spain, Ireland and Norway on Wednesday and added that he will maintain his close contact with the countries on the matter in the coming days.

He recalled that in a recent letter to EU leaders, he urged countries that have not recognized Palestine yet to do so.

"We can work together, united and strong, for the common goal of putting the recognition at the service of humanity, peace and stability in the Middle East. The more countries that join us, the greater will be our leverage over both sides to achieve a truce and the release of hostages," he said.

Slovenia is aware that Palestinians need more than a symbolic gesture of recognition of statehood, the prime minister added.

"We want to help reform and strengthen the Palestinian administration, which will represent its people in both the West Bank and Gaza and direct it toward the two-state solution, which the whole world sees as the solution to lasting peace," Golob said.

Ireland, Spain, Slovenia and Malta already had intensified contacts with a view to jointly recognizing Palestinian statehood.

In a joint statement on March 22, former Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar and his Spanish, Maltese and Slovenian counterparts said they had discussed their "readiness to recognize Palestine and said that we would do so when it can make a positive contribution and the circumstances are right."

Portugal is in the same boat as Belgium as although the country voiced its will to recognize the Palestinian state, it clarified that it would wait for "the most opportune moment to take that step."

In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais in early May, Foreign Minister Paulo Range said that his country shares a similar position with Spain regarding the recognition of Palestine as a state.

Range stressed that it is not "the same" because "there is a time difference."

According to the Portuguese news agency Lusa, Portugal still wants to recognize Palestine as a state but is trying to achieve the greatest possible consensus among the members of the EU.


"It's just a question of the moment," a source from the Foreign Ministry told Lusa.

Israel continued its brutal offensive on Gaza despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

More than 35,700 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, the vast majority being women and children, and nearly 80,000 others injured since last October following an attack by Hamas.

More than seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel is accused of "genocide" at the International Court of Justice, which has ordered Tel Aviv to ensure its forces do not commit acts of genocide and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza. -



 
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