Spain, Ireland and Norway set to formally recognize Palestinian statehood today

Spain, Ireland and Norway will formally recognize a Palestinian state today, in a decision slammed by Israel as a “reward” for Hamas more than seven months into the war in Gaza.

The three European countries believe their initiative has strong symbolic impact, which will likely encourage others to follow suit.

They also point to Norway and Spain’s historic role in advancing Israel-Palestinian peace efforts: in 1991, the two sides sat down together for the first time at a Madrid peace conference that paved the way for the 1993 Oslo Accords.

“Recognizing the state of Palestine is about justice for the Palestinian people,” Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said in Brussels yesterday.

It is also “the best guarantee of security for Israel and absolutely essential for reaching peace in the region,” he said alongside his Irish and Norwegian counterparts.

The plans were unveiled last week in a coordinated announcement by their prime ministers, with formal recognition to take place in all three countries today.

Washington and most Western European nations have said they are willing to one day recognize Palestinian statehood, but not before agreement on thorny issues like the status of Jerusalem and final borders.

Tuesday’s move by Spain, Ireland and Norway will mean 145 of the UN’s 193 member states now recognize Palestinian statehood.

These include many Middle Eastern, African and Asian countries, but not the United States, Canada, most of western Europe, Australia, Japan or South Korea.

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