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Norway, Ireland and Spain say they are recognizing a Palestinian state in a historic move

Palestinian state
The three Irish Government leaders from left, Minister Eamon Ryan, Taoiseach Simon Harris and Tanaiste Micheal Martin speak to the media during a press conference outside the Government Buildings, in Dublin, Ireland, Wednesday May 22, 2024. Ireland and Spain have recognized a Palestinian state. Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said Wednesday it was a move coordinated with Spain and Norway, “an historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine.” He said the move was intended to help move the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to resolution through a two-state solution. Damien Storan - foreign subscriber, ASSOCIATED PRESS

BARCELONA, MAY 22: Norway, Ireland and Spain said on Wednesday they are recognising a Palestinian state in a historic move that drew condemnation from Israel and jubilation from the Palestinians. Israel immediately ordered back its Ambassadors from Norway and Ireland.
It was a lightning cascade of announcements. First was Norway, whose Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, said “there cannot be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition”.
Gahr Støre said the Scandinavian country will officially recognise a Palestinian state as of May 28. “By recognising a Palestinian state, Norway supports the Arab peace plan”, he said.
Several European Union countries have in the past weeks indicated that they plan to make the recognition, arguing a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region.
The decision may generate momentum for the recognition of a Palestinian state by other EU countries and could spur further steps at the United Nations, deepening Israel’s isolation.
Norway, which is not a member of the European Union but mirror its moves, has been an ardent supporter of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
“The terror has been committed by Hamas and militant groups who are not supporters of a two-state solution and the state of Israel”, the Norwegian Government leader said. “Palestine has a fundamental right to an independent state.”
The move comes as Israeli forces have led assaults on the northern and southern edges of the Gaza Strip in May, causing a new exodus of hundreds of thousands of people, and sharply restricted the flow of aid, raising the risk of famine.
The Scandinavian country “will therefore regard Palestine as an independent state with all the rights and obligations that entails”, Gahr Støre said.
The development comes more than 30 years after the first Oslo agreement was signed in 1993. Since then, “the Palestinians have taken important steps towards a two-state solution”, the Norwegian Government said.
It said that the World Bank determined that a Palestinian state had met key criteria to function as a state in 2011, that national institutions have been built up to provide the population with important services.
“The war in Gaza and the constant expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank still mean that the situation in Palestine is more difficult than it has been in decades”, the Norwegian Government said.
Also on Wednesday, Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris made his announcement, saying it was a move coordinated with Spain and Norway, “an historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine”.
He said the move was intended to help move the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to resolution through a two-state solution.
Harris said he thinks other countries will join Norway, Spain and Ireland in recognizing a Palestinian state “in the weeks ahead”.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said that his country will recognise a Palestinian state also on May 28. Sánchez, Spain’s Socialist leader since 2018, made the expected announcement to the nation’s Parliament on Wednesday.
Sánchez has spent months touring European and Middle Eastern countries to garner support for the recognition of a Palestinian state, as well as a possible ceasefire in Gaza. He has said several times that he was committed to the move.
“We know that this initiative won’t bring back the past and the lives lost in Palestine, but we believe that it will give the Palestinians two things that are very important for their present and their future: dignity and hope”, Sánchez said.
“This recognition is not against anyone, it is not against the Israeli people”, Sánchez added, while acknowledging that it will most likely cause diplomatic tensions with Tel Aviv. “It is an act in favour of peace, justice and moral consistency.”
Sánchez argued that the move is needed to support the viability of a two-state solution that he said “is in serious danger” with the war in Gaza.
“I have spent weeks and months speaking with leaders inside and outside of the region and if one thing is clear is that Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu does not have a project of peace for Palestine, even if the fight against the terrorist group Hamas is legitimate”, the Spanish leader said.
Earlier this month, Spain’s Foreign Minister José Albares said he had informed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken of his Government’s intention to recognise a Palestinian state.
The fast-moving developments drew Israel’s condemnation.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz ordered Israel’s Ambassadors from Ireland and Norway to immediately return to Israel, as Norway said it would recognise a Palestinian state and Ireland was expected to do the same.
“Ireland and Norway intend to send a message today to the Palestinians and the whole world: terrorism pays”, Katz said.
He said that the recognition could impede efforts to return Israel’s hostages being held in Gaza and makes a cease-fire less likely by “rewarding the jihadists of Hamas and Iran”.
He also threatened to recall Israel’s Ambassador to Spain if the country takes a similar position.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Norway’s recognition of a Palestinian state and called on other countries to follow.
In a statement carried by the official Wafa news agency, Abbas said Norway’s decision will enshrine “the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination” and support efforts to bring about a two-state solution with Israel. (AP)

India will be happy with more countries recognising us as a state, says Palestine envoy

NEW DELHI, MAY 22: After Norway, Spain and Ireland decided to recognise Palestine as a state, Palestinian officials claim that more countries like Belgium and Slovania are likely to do the same.
“India, I am sure, will be happy to hear that other nations are joining in to recognise Palestine as a state. India has always supported the two-state solution and was one of the first non-Arab nations to recognise Palestine as a state in 1988 and also recognise the PLO in 1975”, Palestinian Ambassador to India Adnan Abu Alhaija told The New Indian Express.
In 1996, India opened its Representative Office to Palestine in Gaza City which was shifted to Ramallah in 2003.
Ambassador Alhaija also spoke about the likelihood of Belgium and Slovania doing the same.
“There are some nations like Venezuela who despite having recognised us don’t have voting rights in the UN as they don’t pay the annual fee. Some other countries too can’t pay, else the number of countries recognising Palestine as a state would have been higher”, the Ambassador added.
As of now, 143 countries out of the 193 UN members have recognised Palestine as a state. The 3 additional announcements will bring this number to 146.
Meanwhile, Israel has decided to recall its envoys in Norway and Ireland after these developments.
(Courtesy: TNIE)