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22 May, 2024 06:55

Norway to recognize Palestinian state

The two-state solution is the only way to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Oslo has said
Norway to recognize Palestinian state

Norway has decided to officially recognize Palestine as a state, the Nordic country’s government has said. The decision will come into force on May 28, it added.

Norway is the tenth European nation to recognize Palestinian statehood. Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia did so in 1988, with Sweden joining them in 2014.

“The Norwegian government has decided that Norway will recognize Palestine as a state,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said, as cited in a statement on the government’s official website.

Oslo is making the move amid the conflict in Gaza, in which “tens of thousands [are] killed and injured,” Store stressed. The aim is to “keep alive the only alternative that offers a political solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike: Two states, living side by side, in peace and security,” he said.

Shortly after the announcement by Norway, Ireland also said it is recognizing Palestinian statehood.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded to the developments by recalling the country’s ambassadors from Ireland and Norway for immediate consultations. The same will happen to the ambassador in Spain if Madrid makes a similar move, he added.

“I am sending an unequivocal message to Ireland and Norway – Israel will not let this go quietly,” Katz said in a statement.

By recognizing the state of Palestine, Oslo and Dublin “intend to send a message to the Palestinians and the entire world – terror pays,” he said, claiming that they are “giving a prize to Hamas and Iran.”

This “parade of stupidity” by EU nations will not deter Israel from achieving its goal of “toppling Hamas” in Gaza, Katz stressed.

Spain announced that it is recognizing Palestinian statehood several minutes after the statement by the Israeli foreign minister.

By recognizing Palestine, Norway is “supporting the moderate forces which have been losing ground in this protracted and brutal conflict,” Store said. Oslo is also sending a “strong message” to other nations to follow its example, as this could eventually make it possible to resume the movement towards a two-state solution, he added.

"There will be no peace in the Middle East without a two-state solution. There can be no two-state solution without a Palestinian state. In other words, a Palestinian state is a prerequisite for achieving peace in the Middle East,” the prime minister explained.

The move by Norway, Ireland and Spain comes just days after the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, applied for warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as well as three top officials from Palestinian armed group Hamas on accusations of committing “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

On Tuesday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that the bloc’s members will be legally forced to arrest Netanyahu if he arrives on their territory. “All States that have ratified the ICC statutes are bound to execute the Court’s decisions,” Borrell explained.

At least, 35,562 people have been killed and 79,652 others wounded in the Israeli airstrikes and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, according to the latest data from the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry. Israel launched its military operation in Gaza in response to the October 7 cross-border incursion by Hamas, in which at least 1,200 people were killed and 250 taken hostage.