Israel outraged as Ireland, Spain and Norway formally recognise Palestinian State

The recognition of Palestinian state by Spain, Norway and Ireland will take effect from Tuesday 28 May. Israel is outraged.

Madrid, Dublin and Oslo officially recognised the State of Palestine on Tuesday. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said that this recognition was ‘a necessity’ for ‘achieving peace’ between Israelis and Palestinians and was a ‘historic question of justice’ for the Palestinian people.

In a brief statement in Spanish and English before a meeting of the Council of Ministers, which convened at 09:30 local time, the Socialist leader added that this decision was not taken ‘against anyone, least of all Israel’.

The recognition, announced last Wednesday in coordination with Sánchez and his Irish and Norwegian counterparts, will take effect from Tuesday 28 May.

The Irish government met this morning to ratify the decision, while Norway sent a note to the new Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa on Sunday confirming its entry into force.

The three European countries, two of which are members of the EU, believe that their initiative has a strong symbolic impact and could encourage other states to join them.

The role played by Norway and Spain in the Middle East peace process in the 1990s is emphasised. Madrid hosted an Arab-Israeli peace conference in 1991, two years before the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Differences of opinion within the EU

While Slovenia is also expected to recognise the State of Palestine in the near future, the issue is the subject of deep divisions within the EU. Other Member States, such as France, believe that now is not the right time. Germany believes that such recognition should only take place after negotiations between the two sides.

The State of Palestine recognised by 145 countries

According to a count conducted by the Palestinian Authority, the State of Palestine is currently recognised by 145 out of 193 UN member states, including Spain, Ireland and Norway. The list does not include most Western European and North American countries; Australia, Japan and South Korea.

So far, Sweden was the only EU country to recognise the State of Palestine in 2014, while the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Romania and Cyprus did so before joining the bloc. The decisions of Madrid, Dublin and Oslo caused outrage in Israel last week. Tensions have escalated in recent days.

Israel is outraged

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz took ‘punitive measures’ against Madrid on Monday, banning the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem from serving Palestinians from 1 June. ‘We will not tolerate anyone undermining Israel's sovereignty and security,’ Katz said, accusing Spain of ‘rewarding Hamas’ for its 7 October attack in southern Israel that sparked the current war in the Gaza Strip.

Israel Katz also posted a video on the social network X on Sunday, combining footage of the 7 October attack with images of flamenco dancers, claiming that Hamas ‘thanked Pedro Sánchez for his services’. The video was described as ‘scandalous and disgusting’ by Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares. Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin said: ‘Some have described our decision (...) as a “reward for terrorism”. Nothing could be further from the truth.’