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Spain, Ireland and Norway decide to recognize Palestine as a state

Spain, Ireland and Norway decide to recognize Palestine as a state

Spain, Ireland and Norway announced on Wednesday that they have decided to recognize Palestine as an independent state, arguing that the two-state solution is the only solution for long-term peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Prime Minister of Ireland, Simon Harris, said that this was a joint decision between his country, Spain and Norway.

This historic decision prompted fierce opposition from Israel and jubilation among Palestinians.

Israel immediately recalled its ambassadors from Norway, Ireland and Spain and said it would invite their ambassadors to Israel for reprimand, where they will watch a video of the attack by Hamas - the US and EU-designated terrorist group. - in southern Israel on October 7.

These three countries announced one after the other through press conferences about their decision on Palestine. Before this announcement, about 143 of the 193 member states of the United Nations recognized Palestine as a state.

The Prime Minister of Norway, Jonas Gahr Store, said that "there can be no peace in the Middle East, if there is no recognition".

Gahr Store indicated that the Scandinavian country will officially recognize the Palestinian state from May 28.

"Recognizing Palestine as a state, Norway supports the plan for peace," he said.

Several European Union countries have hinted in recent weeks that they intend to recognize Palestine, arguing that a two-state solution is essential for long-term peace in the region.

Norway, which is not a member of the European Union but follows its policies, has been an ardent supporter of the two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

"The terror was committed by Hamas and by militant groups, which are not supporters of the two-state solution, and by the state of Israel," said the leader of the Norwegian Government.

"Palestine has a fundamental right to be an independent state," he said.

Since Hamas members carried out the surprise attack in Israel on October 7, Israeli forces have been carrying out attacks in the northern and southern parts of the Gaza Strip, displacing hundreds of thousands of people, and significantly limiting the flow of aid into the Palestinian enclave.

About 1,200 people were killed in Israel on October 7 and more than 250 were kidnapped, according to Israeli officials. Meanwhile, Israel's war has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians since then, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

"Therefore, Norway will recognize Palestine as an independent state with all rights and obligations," Gahr Store added.

Norway is recognizing Palestine as a state more than 30 years after the first Oslo accord, which was signed in 1993.

Since then, "the Palestinians have made important steps towards a two-state solution," the Norwegian government said.

She said that the World Bank has emphasized that Palestine has met the key criteria to function as a state in 2011, and that national institutions have been built to provide important services to the people.

Meanwhile, the Irish Prime Minister, Harris, said that "this is a historic and important day for Ireland and Palestine".

He said his country's decision to recognize Palestine as a state is intended to help find a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through a two-state solution.

Spain's prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, said his country will recognize Palestine as a state on May 28.

Sanchez, Spain's Socialist leader since 2018, made the expected news during a speech to Parliament on Wednesday.

Sanchez has spent several months touring European and Middle Eastern countries to gain support for the recognition of Palestine, as well as a possible cease-fire in Gaza.

Earlier this month, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said he had notified US Secretary of State Antony Blinken of his government's intention to recognize Palestine.

Israel's Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, ordered the Israeli ambassadors to Ireland and Norway to return to Israel immediately, following the announcement by these two countries to recognize Palestine.

"Ireland and Norway intend to send a message today to the Palestinians and to the world: terrorism pays," said Katz.

Katz said the ambassadors of Ireland, Spain and Norway to Israel will be invited to a "reprimanding conversation" during which they will watch a video of the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier on October 7.

He said the recognition could hamper efforts to return Israeli hostages being held in Gaza and make it less possible to reach a ceasefire agreement, "rewarding the jihadists of Hamas and Iran".

"Israel will not be silent on this - their steps will have serious consequences," Katz said.

The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abhas, welcomed Norway's decision to recognize the Palestinian state and called on other countries to do the same./ REL

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