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Spain, Ireland and Norway will recognize a Palestinian state on May 28. Why does that matter?

Spain, Ireland and Norway announced on Wednesday that they recognize a Palestinian state on May 28, a step toward a long-held Palestinian aspiration, coming amid international outrage over the number of civilian casualties and the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip that followed Israel’s offensive.

The almost simultaneous decisions of two European Union countries, and Norway, could generate momentum in favor of the recognition of a Palestinian state by other EU countries and could prompt further measures at the Nations United, thus deepening Israel’s isolation. Malta and Slovenia, which also belong to the 27-member European Union, could follow suit.

Some 140 of the 190 countries represented in the United Nations have already recognized a Palestinian state.

Here’s a look at how and why the new European announcements could be important:

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

The 1948 U.N. decision that created Israel envisioned a neighboring Palestinian state, but some 70 years later, control of the Palestinian territories remains divided and applications for U.N. membership have been denied.

The United States, Britain and other Western countries have backed the idea of ​​an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel as a solution to the Middle East’s most intractable conflict, but they insist that the creation of a Palestinian state should be part of a negotiated settlement. There have been no substantive negotiations since 2009.

Although EU countries and Norway will not recognize an existing state, only the possibility of creating one, the symbolism helps strengthen the Palestinians’ international standing and increases pressure on Israel to open negotiations on the end of the war.

In addition, this decision gives additional importance to the issue of the Middle East in the run-up to the legislative elections from June 6 to 9. European Parliamentwhile some 370 million people have the right to vote and a strong rise of the far right is on the cards.

WHY NOW?

Diplomatic pressure on Israel has intensified as the battle against Hamas enters its eighth month. The United Nations General Assembly voted with a significant majority on May 11 to grant new “rights and privileges” to Palestine, a sign of growing international support for a vote on full voting membership. The Palestinian Authority currently has observer status.

The leaders of Spain, Ireland, Malta and Slovenia said in March they were considering recognizing a Palestinian state as “a positive contribution” to ending the war.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Wednesday: “This recognition is not against anyone, it is not against the Israeli people,” he said. “It is an act in favor of peace, justice and moral coherence.”

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF RECOGNITION?

While dozens of countries have recognized Palestine, none of the major Western powers have done so, and it is unclear how much of a difference the three countries’ decision could make.

Nevertheless, their recognition would constitute an important achievement for the Palestinians, who believe that it gives international legitimacy to their struggle.

It is likely that little will change on the ground in the short term. Peace talks have stalled and the Israeli government stubbornly opposes the creation of a Palestinian state.

WHAT IS ISRAEL’S RESPONSE?

Israel reacted quickly on Wednesday by recalling its ambassadors in Ireland, Norway and Spain.

The Israeli government calls talks on Palestinian independence “recompense” for the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7, which killed 1,200 people and led to the kidnapping of more than 250 others. He rejects any attempt to legitimize the Palestinians internationally.

Steps like those taken Wednesday by the three European countries will harden the Palestinian position and undermine the negotiation process, Israel says, insisting that all issues must be resolved through negotiation.

Israel often responds to decisions by foreign countries deemed to be against its interests by summoning those countries’ ambassadors and punishing Palestinians with measures such as freezing tax transfers to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.

WHO RECOGNIZES PALESTINE AS A STATE?

Some 140 countries have already recognized Palestine, more than two-thirds of the members of the United Nations.

Some major powers have indicated their positions could shift amid outcry over the aftermath of Israel’s offensive in Gaza, which has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians according to Gaza’s health ministry. The ministry does not distinguish between non-combatants and combatants in its count.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said no recognition of Palestine could take place while Hamas remained in Gaza, but could take place while Israeli negotiations with Palestinian leaders were ongoing. .

French President Emmanuel Macron said in February that recognition of a Palestinian state was not “taboo” for France.

News Source : apnews.com
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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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