Palestinian state recognized

BARCELONA, Spain — Norway, Ireland and Spain recognized a Palestinian state on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, in a historic move that drew condemnation from Israel and jubilation from the Palestinians. Israel ordered back its ambassadors from Norway and Ireland.

It was a lightning cascade of announcements. First was Norway, whose Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said “there cannot be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition.”

Støre said the Scandinavian country will officially recognize a Palestinian state as of May 28. “By recognizing a Palestinian state, Norway supports the Arab peace plan,” he said.

Several European Union countries have in the past weeks indicated that they plan to make the recognition, arguing a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region.

Norway, which is not a member of the European Union but mirror its moves, has been an ardent supporter of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

The move comes as Israeli forces have led assaults on the northern and southern edges of the Gaza Strip in May, causing a new exodus of hundreds of thousands of people and sharply restricted the flow of aid, raising the risk of famine.

The Scandinavian country “will therefore regard Palestine as an independent state with all the rights and obligations that entails,” Støre said.

Norway’s recognition of a Palestine state comes more than 30 years after the first Oslo agreement was signed in 1993. Since then, “the Palestinians have taken important steps towards a two-state solution,” the Norwegian government said.

It said that the World Bank determined that Palestine had met key criteria to function as a state in 2011, that national institutions have been built up to provide the population with important services.

Also Wednesday, Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris made his announcement, saying it was a move coordinated with Spain and Norway, “an historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine.” He said the move was intended to help move the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to resolution through a two-state solution.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said that his country will recognize Palestine as a state on May 28. Sánchez, Spain’s Socialist leader since 2018, made the expected announcement to the nation’s Parliament on Wednesday. / AP

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