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Israel recalls Ireland, Norway, Spain envoys over Palestine

Jennifer Duggan, Galit Altstein and Fadwa Hodali, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

Israel recalled its ambassadors to Ireland, Norway and Spain after they announced they would recognize a Palestinian state.

The co-ordinated moves by the European nations underscores how Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza is focusing global attention on the issue of statehood for Palestinians and hurting Israel’s relations with the rest of the world.

“Israel will not be complacent against those who undermine its sovereignty and endanger its security,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Wednesday in a statement. The countries are sending a message that “terrorism pays.”

Around 140 nations already recognize a Palestinian state, but very few in Europe have. Among them are Hungary and Sweden.

“This is an historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine,” Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris told reporters on Wednesday morning. “It is an expression of our view that Palestine holds and should be able to vindicate the full rights to the state, including self determination, self governance, territorial integrity and security.”

Ireland, Norway and Spain plan to formally recognize a Palestinian state — comprising Gaza and the West Bank — on May 28.

 

Harris and his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez reiterated calls for an end to the war in Gaza that’s now in its eighth month and which has devastated the Mediterranean enclave. They and Norway have been among the European countries most critical of Israel for continuing the conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the war is necessary to destroy Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union.

Netanyahu has spent most of his life rejecting a Palestinian state, although in 2009 he said he’d accept a demilitarized one as long as the Palestinians recognized Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestinian leadership rejected that, and in recent years, Netanyahu and the Israeli public have stepped away from supporting two states.

This is due to the growth of religious nationalism in Israel and a sense that violent forces like Hamas would push aside more moderate parties in any Palestinian country. In addition, the refusal by the Palestinian Authority — which runs parts of the West Bank — to properly condemn Hamas’s attack of Oct. 7, which started the war, have solidified those concerns.

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