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Spain, Norway and Ireland formally recognize a Palestinian state

BARCELONA, Spain — Spain, Norway and Ireland formally recognized a Palestinian state on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three Western European nations to add international pressure on Israel to soften its response to the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist-led attack.

Israel condemned the diplomatic move, which will have no immediate impact on the war in Gaza.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said in a televised address from Madrid that “this is a historic decision that has a single goal, and that is to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve peace.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz quickly lashed out at Spain on X, saying that Sánchez’s government was “being complicit in inciting genocide against Jews and war crimes.”

Ireland and Norway soon joined Spain in formalizing a decision they had jointly announced the previous week.

The Palestinian flag was raised in Dublin outside Leinster House, the seat of Ireland’s parliament.

“I hope (this) sends the Palestinian people a message of hope that — in this their darkest hour — Ireland stands with them,” Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris told lawmakers in Ireland’s parliament after his Cabinet formally signed off on the decision.

“It is no longer enough just to condemn. It is no longer enough just to be repulsed,” he added. “We must be on the right side of history.”

Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said in a statement that “for more than 30 years, Norway has been one of the strongest advocates for a Palestinian state. Today, when Norway officially recognizes Palestine as a state, is a milestone in the relationship between Norway and Palestine.”

While around 140 countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so.

Previously only seven members of the 27-nation EU officially recognized a Palestinian state. Five of them are former East bloc countries that announced recognition in 1988, as did Cyprus, before joining the EU. Sweden’s recognition came in 2014.

Relations between the EU and Israel have nosedived with the diplomatic recognitions by two EU members, and Madrid insisting on Monday that the EU should take measures against Israel for its continued deadly attacks in southern Gaza’s city of Rafah.

The joint announcement by Spain, Ireland and Norway last week triggered an angry response from Israeli authorities, which summoned the countries’ ambassadors in Tel Aviv to the Foreign Ministry, where they were filmed while being shown videos of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack and abductions.

Prime Minister Robert Golob of Slovenia said that Monday his government would decide on the recognition of a Palestinian state on Thursday, and forward its decision to parliament for final approval.

Finnish state broadcaster YLE quoted President Alexander Stubb as saying that the Nordic country would recognize it “at some stage in the future” also on Tuesday.

The U.S. and the United Kingdom, among others, back the idea of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, but say it should come as part of a negotiated settlement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government says the conflict can only be resolved through direct negotiations.

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