Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. Spain, Ireland and Norway will officially recognise Palestine as a State. (Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)


Spain, Ireland and Norway to officially recognise Palestinian Statehood


The governments of Spain, Ireland, and Norway have announced their imminent recognition of Palestine as an independent state.

In a carefully co-ordinated announcement, the leaders of the three EU Member States announced the move on May 22 in their respective capitals, with the decision to come into force on May 28.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez confirmed in Parliament that his Council of Ministers will make the decision official next week.

“We need to tell Palestinians that we are with them, that there is hope,” he said.

Sánchez specified the Palestinian State will include “Gaza, the West Bank, and with East Jerusalem as its capital”.

The premier also criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces an ICC arrest warrant. According to Sánchez, Netanyahu “does not have a peace process for Palestine”.

Spain has been one of the most vocal advocates for the recognition of Palestine as a State. The PM has appointed ministers of Palestinian origin to his Cabinet, which is set to deliver on its “first commitment” of this legislative term.

Such sentiments were largely echoed by Irish Taoiseach (PM), Simon Harris, who compared Palestine’s journey to statehood to Ireland’s in the early 20th century.

“On January 21, 1919, Ireland asked the world to recognise our rights to be an independent State,” he said.

“Today, we use the same language to support the recognition of Palestine as a State.”

Norway’s PM Jonas Gahr Støre said the recognition of Palestine was one of the requirements for there to be “peace in the Middle East”.

He added that the “recognition of Palestine is a means of supporting the moderate forces which have been losing ground in this protracted and brutal conflict”.

Gahr Støre insisted a two-state solution was “the only alternative that offers a political solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike”.

The state of Israel swiftly responded by recalling its ambassadors in Oslo and Dublin for “consultations” on the decision, with Spanish media later reporting that Israel’s ambassador in Madrid had also been recalled for similar reasons.

Israeli authorities added the three countries’ decision “awards a golden medal to Hamas assassins” that would “fuel extremism … and jeopardise any prospects for peace”.

It is the second time in the past two years that Israel has recalled its ambassador to Spain. They did it last December after Sánchez criticised Israel’s self-defence effort following a visit to the country with Belgium’s Alexander De Croo in late November.

The move ended up being praised by Hamas, with the terror group lauding both men as taking a “brave stance” on the current conflict.

For months, both Spain and Ireland had been lobbying other EU Member States to recognise Palestine.

Currently, eight EU countries recognise Palestine as a State.