Spain, Norway and Ireland recognise Palestinian state

Wednesday, 29 May 2024 02:23 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Spain, Ireland and Norway have formally recognised a Palestinian state, in what they say is an attempt to refocus attention on efforts to find a political solution to the war in the Middle East.

They hope by acting together they will encourage other European countries to follow suit, in a diplomatic push that could help secure a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages held by Hamas.

The symbolic decision has provoked a furious row with Israel’s government which has accused all three countries of rewarding terrorism.

Israel has withdrawn its ambassadors from Ireland, Norway and Spain and formally reprimanded their envoys in Tel Aviv. All three were summoned to Israel’s foreign ministry last week to be shown footage of the 7 October attacks in front of the media.

The recognition of Palestine by the three countries also increases diplomatic pressure on Israel after two international courts called for an end to Israel Defence Forces (IDF) operations in southern Gaza and accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of war crimes.

Western countries have also stepped up sanctions on Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The process of diplomatic recognition varies between countries, but normally involves a formal exchange of credentials with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.

Existing consulates or missions in the West Bank or East Jerusalem then become formal embassies, while representatives transform into full-blown ambassadors.

All three countries said they recognised a Palestinian state based on borders established before the war in 1967, with Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and Palestine.