Norway, Ireland and Spain formally recognise the state of Palestine


In a coordinated series of announcements, Norway, Ireland and Spain have collectively recognised the Palestinian state, prompting Israel to recall its ambassadors over the move.

Norway, Ireland and Spain have formally recognised the state of Palestine in a historic move that drew condemnation from Israel and jubilation from the Palestinians.

Israel has recalled its ambassadors from Norway, Ireland and Spain.

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

“By recognising 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 terror has been committed by Hamas and militant groups who are not supporters of a two-state solution and the state of Israel,” the Norwegian government leader said. “Palestine has a fundamental right to an independent state.”

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

'Historic move' 

Also Wednesday, Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris made his announcement, in coordination with Spain and Norway, calling the move “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 recognise Palestine as a state on 28 May.

Sánchez, Spain's Socialist leader since 2018, made the expected announcement to the nation's Parliament on Wednesday.

Sánchez has spent months touring European and Middle Eastern countries to garner support for the recognition of Palestine, as well as a possible ceasefire in Gaza.

Over the the past weeks, several European Union countries have indicated that they plan to recognise Palestine – including Greece, Slovenia and Malta – arguing that a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region. 

Condemnation from Israel

Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz has ordered Israel's ambassadors in Norway, Ireland and Spain to immediately return to Israel, over the countries' official recognition of a Palestinian state.

Speaking this earlier today, Katz said: “Ireland and Norway intend to send a message today to the Palestinians and the whole world: terrorism pays."

He added that the recognition could impede efforts to return Israel's hostages being held in Gaza and makes a cease-fire less likely by “rewarding the jihadists of Hamas and Iran”.

Norway and Spain's recognition of Palestine is due to take effect from 28 May.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Norway's recognition of a Palestinian state and called on other countries to follow. 

In a statement carried by the official Wafa news agency, he says Norway's decision, will enshrine “the Palestinian people's right to self-determination” and support efforts to bring about a two-state solution with Israel.