Ireland, Norway, and Spain recognize Palestinian state in historic announcement

Dublin, Ireland - Ireland, Norway, and Spain announced on Wednesday that they will recognize a Palestinian state in a historic move that drew a furious response from Israel.

The prime ministers of Ireland, Spain, and Norway – Simon Harris, Pedro Sanchez, and Jonas Gahr Støre – said their countries will recognize Palestine as a state.
The prime ministers of Ireland, Spain, and Norway – Simon Harris, Pedro Sanchez, and Jonas Gahr Støre – said their countries will recognize Palestine as a state.  © Collage: Paul FAITH & Thomas COEX / AFP & Erik Flaaris Johansen / NTB / AFP

Irish Taoiseach Simon Harris said his nation would recognize Palestine as a state but did not specify timing, while leaders of Norway and Spain said their nations would do so as of May 28.

Israel immediately announced it was recalling its envoys to Ireland and Norway for "urgent consultations."

"Today, I am sending a sharp message to Ireland and Norway: Israel will not go over this in silence," Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a statement. Israel's ambassador to Spain was also recalled.

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The Israeli foreign ministry had earlier posted a video message addressed to Ireland on the social media platform X warning that "recognizing a Palestinian state risks turning you into a pawn in the hands of Iran and Hamas", adding the move would "only fuel extremism and instability."

"Historic day" for Palestine

Ireland has been one of the few Western countries to show solidarity with Palestinians amid Israel's brutal war on Gaza.
Ireland has been one of the few Western countries to show solidarity with Palestinians amid Israel's brutal war on Gaza.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

But Norway – which has played a key role in Middle East diplomacy over the years, hosting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at the beginning of the 1990s which led to the Oslo Accords – said recognition was needed to support moderate voices amid Israel's brutal war on Gaza, which has killed well over 35,000 people in retaliation to the October 7 Hamas attack.

"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," Norwegian PM Jonas Gahr Støre said. Norway has also promised to detain Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if the International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant and he visits the country.

Spain's Pedro Sanchez said in parliament in Madrid: "Next Tuesday, May 28, Spain's cabinet will approve the recognition of the Palestinian state," he said, adding that his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu was putting the two-state solution in "danger" with his policy of "pain and destruction" in the Gaza Strip.

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Harris, meanwhile, hailed a "historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine."

The US and most Western European nations have said they are willing to one day recognize Palestinian statehood, but not before agreement is reached on issues like final borders and the status of Jerusalem – in effect giving a veto right to Israel.

In 2014, Sweden, which has a large Palestinian community, became the first EU member in Western Europe to recognize Palestinian statehood.

It had earlier been recognized by six other European countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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