Spain, Ireland, Norway to recognise Palestinian state on May 28

23 May,2024 07:48 AM IST |  Barcelona  |  Agencies

140 of 190 represented in the UN countries have already recognised a Palestinian state

Palestinians stand near a charred fishing boat that was hit by an Israeli airsrike on the Mediterranean coast of Rafah on Wednesday. Pics/AFP

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Spain, Ireland and Norway said on Wednesday that they would recognise a Palestinian state on May 28, a step toward a long-held Palestinian aspiration that came amid international outrage over the civilian death toll and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip following Israel's offensive.

The triple and almost simultaneous decisions 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.

More to follow suit

Malta and Slovenia, which also belong to the 27-nation European Union, may follow suit. Some 140 of 190 represented in the UN countries have already recognised a Palestinian state.

Palestinians gather outside a damaged house in central Gaza

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said on 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.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said that his country will recognise Palestine as a state on May 28. Sánchez, Spain's Socialist leader since 2018, made the expected announcement to the nation's Parliament on Wednesday.

Here's a look at how and why the new European announcements could be important:

Why does it matter?

The 1948 UN decision that created Israel envisaged a neighbouring Palestinian state, but some 70 years later control of the Palestinian territories remains divided and bids for UN membership have been denied.

The United States, Britain and other Western countries have backed the idea of an independent Palestinian state existing alongside Israel as a solution to the Middle East's most intractable conflict, but they insist Palestinian statehood should come as part of a negotiated settlement. There have been no substantive negotiations since 2009.

Though the EU countries and Norway won't be recognising an existing state, just the possibility of one, the symbolism helps enhance the Palestinians' international standing and heaps more pressure on Israel to open negotiations on ending the war.

Also, the move lends additional prominence to the Middle East issue ahead of June 6-9 elections to the European Parliament, when some 370 million people are eligible to vote and a steep rise of the extreme right is on the cards.

May 28
Three more countries will recognise Palestine

Israel recalls ambassadors from Ireland, Norway

Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz has 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 whole world: terrorism pays," Katz said.

Two Hamas leaders killed in Gaza

Ahmed Yasser al-Kara, who was described as a "key" figure in the terrorist organisation Hamas' anti-tank missile operation and who led attacks and terrorist plots against the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during the war in Gaza, was killed in Khan Yunis in an IDF air strike. The strike was carried out with the intelligence aid of the Shin Bet (Israel's anti-terror General Security Services).

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