Spain and Ireland Followed Norway in Recognizing Palestine as a State as of 28 May

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Spain and Ireland, following Norway, recognized Palestine as a state as of 28 May. Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said the decision, agreed with Spain and Norway, was a “historic and important day for Ireland and Palestine”. According to him, it is intended to help move the Israeli-Palestinian conflict towards a two-state solution. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said his country will recognize Palestine as a state on May 28. The Spanish Socialist leader made the expected announcement in the country’s parliament on Wednesday. Sanchez has spent months touring European and Middle Eastern countries to build support for recognition of Palestine, as well as a possible ceasefire in Gaza. He has repeatedly said he is committed to this decision. Earlier this month, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Albares said he had informed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken of his government’s intention to recognize Palestine. Hours earlier, Norway’s Prime Minister said his country would officially recognize Palestine as a state. “The Norwegian Government has decided that Norway will recognize Palestine as a state. 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,” the statement quotes Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store as saying. He added that Norway’s formal recognition of Palestine as a state will enter into force on 28 May 2024. Several EU countries have said in recent weeks that they plan to recognize Palestine, arguing that a two-state solution is necessary for lasting peace in the region. Norway, which is not a member of the EU but mirrors its actions, is a staunch supporter of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine. In late April, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said that several EU countries would recognize Palestine by the end of May. Among European states, Bulgaria, Hungary, Cyprus, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Hungary recognize Palestine’s independence. In total, 143 out of 193 UN countries, including Russia, recognize Palestine as an independent state. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed the recognition of a Palestinian state by Spain, Ireland and Norway and called on other countries to follow suit. In a statement issued by the official WAFA news agency, he said the decision would consolidate “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” and support efforts to achieve a two-state solution. Even before the coordinated announcement by Oslo, Dublin and Madrid, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz ordered the Jewish state’s ambassadors to Ireland and Norway to return home immediately. “Ireland and Norway intend today to send a message to the Palestinians and the world: terrorism is getting its way,” Katz said. He said recognition could hamper efforts to return Israeli hostages held in Gaza and make a ceasefire less likely, “rewarding jihadists from Hamas and Iran.” The official also threatened to recall Israel’s ambassador to Spain if that country took a similar position.