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22 May, 2024 16:34

Israel summons three ambassadors over Palestine recognition

The Foreign Ministry is reportedly looking into adopting punitive measures against Ireland, Spain, and Norway
Israel summons three ambassadors over Palestine recognition

Ambassadors from Ireland, Spain, and Norway have been summoned to the Israeli Foreign Ministry to receive a reprimand, after their countries moved to formally recognize the State of Palestine.

In a coordinated policy change, the three countries' governments announced on Wednesday that they would officially consider Palestine a sovereign nation from May 28, in hope that it would bring peace to the Middle East through a two-state solution. 

West Jerusalem reacted by recalling its ambassadors from all three nations, with Foreign Minister Israel Katz threatening “serious consequences” and stating that the recognition of Palestinian statehood amounted to rewarding terrorism.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday, Katz announced that he had issued a demarche to the ambassadors of the three countries, and that they would be shown videos of the kidnapping of Israeli women by Hamas militants. 

According to the Ynet news outlet, Katz is also considering a series of punitive measures, including making it more difficult to issue visas and diplomatic documentation to European representatives working in the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian National Authority, also known as the State of Palestine, is internationally recognized by countries such as Russia, China, Poland, Sweden, and other European nations and is considered the legitimate representative of the interests of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza. It is considered a rival to Hamas, which has been in control of Gaza for the past twenty years.

Ynet noted that among the diplomats working for Ireland, Spain, and Norway in Israel, there are dozens who also serve as official representatives to the Palestinian Authority, meaning that placing restrictions on their visas could significantly complicate or even prevent them from working with the Palestinians.

Katz is reportedly also considering not sending Israel’s ambassadors back to the three countries, lowering the level of relations with them, and possibly closing Israeli embassies in Norway and Ireland and banning visits by their officials.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly vowed to prevent Palestinian statehood, with Israel in de facto control of its tentative territory, which is predominantly inhabited by Palestinians.

However, many UN members, including Israel’s ally the US, have been pushing for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which would create a Palestinian state within the territory occupied by Israel since 1967. 

The push for Palestinian sovereignty has intensified since the outbreak of the Gaza conflict, when Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel killing over 1,200 people and taking some 250 people hostage. 

In response, Israel began a relentless military campaign in Gaza, killing over 35,000 people according to Palestinian health authorities. The mass casualties have prompted the International Criminal Court to seek arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defense minister, and three Hamas leaders, accusing them of war crimes.