Slovenian government okays decision to recognize Palestinian state alongside Israel

Slovenian PM calls for ceasefire, release of hostages; parliament must approve measure; FM Israel Katz casts move as reward for Hamas terror

Slovenia's Prime Minister Robert Golob looks on as he arrives to attend a European Council summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on April 18, 2024. (Ludovic Marin/AFP)
Slovenia's Prime Minister Robert Golob looks on as he arrives to attend a European Council summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on April 18, 2024. (Ludovic Marin/AFP)

LJUBLJANA — The Slovenian government on Thursday approved a decision to recognize an independent Palestinian state, Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob said, following in the steps of Spain, Ireland and Norway.

“Today the government has decided to recognize Palestine as an independent and sovereign state,” he said at a news conference in Ljubljana.

The parliament of the European Union member country must also approve the government’s decision in the coming days.

The move is part of a wider effort by countries to coordinate pressure on Israel to end its war against Hamas in Gaza, which began following the October 7 massacre carried out by the terror group in southern Israel, when Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel, killing some 1,200 people and kidnapping 252 while committing widespread atrocities and sexual assaults.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says more than 36,000 people in the Strip have been killed or are presumed dead in the fighting so far, though only some 24,000 fatalities have been identified at hospitals. The toll, which cannot be verified, includes some 15,000 terror operatives Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

Two hundred and ninety-two soldiers have been killed during the ground offensive against Hamas and amid operations along the Gaza border. A civilian Defense Ministry contractor has also been killed in the Strip.

Golob also called for the immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in Gaza and the release of all hostages.

“This is the message of peace,” he said.

The Slovenian government raised a Palestinian flag alongside the flags of Slovenia and the EU in front of its building in downtown Ljubljana.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz expressed outrage over the move, stating that it “rewards Hamas for murder, rape, mutilation of bodies, beheading of babies, and strengthens the Iranian axis of evil while damaging the close friendship between the Slovenian and Israeli people.”

“I hope the Slovenian Parliament rejects this recommendation,” he wrote on X.

On May 28, Spain, Ireland and Norway officially recognized a Palestinian state, also prompting an angry reaction from Israel.

Of the 27 members of the European Union, Sweden, Cyprus, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria have already recognized a Palestinian state. Malta has said it could follow soon.

Britain and Australia have said they are also considering recognition, but France has said now is not the time.

Germany joined Israel’s staunchest ally, the United States, in rejecting a unilateral approach, insisting that a two-state solution can only be achieved through dialogue.

Denmark’s parliament on Tuesday voted down a bill to recognize a Palestinian state.

Norway, which chairs the international donor group to the Palestinians, had until recently followed the US position but has lost confidence that this strategy will work.

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