Ireland, Norway, and Spain Have Declared Their Intention To Recognize Palestine

( – The tensions between Israel and Palestine are on display for the world to see, but it’s not a new conflict. The two sides have fought each other for decades, dating back to WWI. When Britain withdrew from Palestine, Israel declared statehood. Many have advocated for a two-state solution over the past few years, but it has never come to fruition. Now, however, three countries are saying they will recognize Palestine as its own state.

The announcement came on Wednesday, May 22. Leaders of Norway, Spain, and Ireland said that within the immediate future, they would formally recognize Palestinian statehood. Other European Union members are expected to follow suit.

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris, who recently assumed power, said it was a “historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine.” Norway Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said there would be no peace in the Middle East until Palestine’s statehood is recognized and that it “has a fundamental right” to that effect.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in November and urged him to cease his actions, saying he was creating a “humanitarian catastrophe,” something many others have echoed.

The actions of those three countries sparked Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz to recall his ambassadors from those nations. Such a move, he said, aimed to “sen[d] a clear and unequivocal message” to the world that “Israel will not remain silent in the face of those undermining its sovereignty.” By publicly declaring that they will recognize Palestinian statehood, Katz said the European countries are relaying the message that “terrorism pays.”

Several other countries already recognize Palestine. Prior to Ireland, Norway, and Spain, Sweden did so in 2014. Even before that, other nations did so before they became part of the EU bloc.

The move is largely symbolic in nature and followed on the heels of International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan announcing he was seeking arrest warrants for Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

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