Spain, Ireland and Norway recognize the Palestinian state. Why is it important?

Spain, Ireland and Norway reported on Wednesday Recognize the State of Palestine On May 28, a step toward a long-held Palestinian aspiration came amid international outrage over the civilian death toll and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Israel’s attack.

The near-simultaneous decisions by the two EU countries and Norway could build momentum for recognition of a Palestinian state by other EU countries and trigger further action at the United Nations, deepening Israel’s isolation.

Currently, seven members of the 27-nation European Union have officially recognized the State of Palestine. Five of them are former Eastern bloc countries that declared recognition before joining the bloc in 1988, as did Cyprus. Sweden announced the recognition in 2014.

The Czech Republic, a member of the European Union, says its 1988 recognition of the former Czechoslovakia – of which it has since become part – does not apply to the modern state. Slovakia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed their recognition since Slovakia gained independence in 1992–93, and the Palestinian Authority has had a fully operational embassy in Bratislava since 2006.

EU members Malta and Slovenia say they may follow suit.

Of the approximately 190 countries represented at the UN, 140 have already recognized the State of Palestine.

Here’s how and why the new European announcements matter:

Why is it important?

In 1947 the UN The partition plan called for the creation of a Jewish state alongside a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians and the wider Arab world rejected it, even though the Palestinians had given them two-thirds of the land. population

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The following year’s Arab-Israeli War saw Israel gain more territory, Jordan’s West Bank and East Jerusalem, and Egypt’s Gaza.

In the 1967 war, Israel captured all three territories, and for decades, on-again, off-again peace talks failed.

The United States, Britain and other Western countries have supported the idea of ​​an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel in the Middle East’s most intractable conflict, but they insist that a Palestinian state must come as part of the negotiations. After 2009, no talks took place.

Although EU countries and Norway do not recognize an existing state, only the possibility of one, the symbol helps improve the international standing of the Palestinians and puts more pressure on Israel to open negotiations to end the war.

Also, the move puts added emphasis on the Middle East issue ahead of the June 6-9 elections. European Parliament.

Why now?

Diplomatic pressure on Israel has increased as the war with Hamas enters its eighth month. UN They voted by a significant margin A sign of growing international support for a referendum on full voting membership on May 11 to grant new “rights and privileges” to Palestine. The Palestinian Authority currently has observer status.

The leaders of Spain, Ireland, Malta and Slovenia said in March they would recognize a Palestinian state as “a positive contribution” to ending the war.

“This recognition is not against anyone, it is not against the Israeli people,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Wednesday. “It is an act in favor of peace, justice and moral stability.”

Although the country has supported the establishment of a Palestinian state for decades, recognition is “a card you can play once,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide told The Associated Press.

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“We thought recognition would come at the end of a process,” he said. “Now we realize that recognition is an inspiration, a process that needs to be reinforced.”

What are the implications of accreditation?

While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers have done so, and it’s unclear how much of a difference a three-country move would make.

Even so, their recognition would represent a significant achievement for Palestinians, who hope it gives international recognition to their struggle. Norway has said it will upgrade its representative office for Palestine to an embassy, ​​but it is unclear what Ireland and Spain will do.

There is likely to be some change in the field in the short term. Peace talks have stalled, and Israel’s hardline government has dug its heels in against the Palestinian Authority.

What was Israel’s response?

Israel reacted swiftly on Wednesday by recalling its ambassadors to Ireland, Norway and Spain and suspending a wartime arrangement to transfer Palestinian tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority via Norway.

The Israeli government has slammed talk of Palestinian independence as a “reward” for a Hamas attack on southern Israel that has killed 1,200 people and kidnapped more than 250. It rejects any move to legitimize the Palestinians internationally.

Israel says actions like Wednesday’s by the three European countries will harden the Palestinian position and undermine the negotiation process, insisting that all issues must be resolved through dialogue.

Who Recognizes Palestine?


About 140 countries have already recognized a Palestinian.

Some major powers have signaled their stance could evolve amid outcry over the effects of Israel’s assault on Gaza, which has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry. The ministry does not distinguish between militants and militias in its numbers.

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British Foreign Secretary David Cameron has said that recognizing a Palestinian state is unlikely while Hamas is in Gaza, but could happen while Israel is negotiating with Palestinian leaders.

France has indicated that it is not ready to join other countries in recognizing a Palestinian state, even if it is not opposed to the idea in principle. French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné said in comments released by his ministry after a closed-door meeting with the Israeli foreign minister on Wednesday that recognizing a Palestinian state should be “useful” to move forward a two-state solution. has no real impact on achieving that goal.


An earlier version of this story misstated the 1948 UN resolution that led to the creation of Israel. In fact, Israel declared independence in 1948 after the UN proposed a partition plan in 1947.

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