Ireland, Spain, Norway moving closer to recognising a Palestinian state

Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez says declarations on Palestine will be made “when the conditions are appropriate”.

Ireland's Prime Minister Simon Harris, left, with Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in Dublin [Paul Faith/AFP]

Ireland and Norway are both moving closer to recognising Palestinian statehood, leaders of the two countries expressed separately after meetings with Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who also champions the move.

Ireland wants to recognise Palestine soon, but in a coordinated action with Spain and more European nations, the country’s Prime Minister Simon Harris said after meeting Sanchez in Dublin on Friday.

Earlier in the day, Sanchez travelled to Oslo, where Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said his country also “stands ready” to recognise Palestine together with “like-minded countries”.

Sanchez said Spain wants to recognise Palestine “as soon as possible”, leveraging the move as a way to gain momentum for a definitive peace process.

The current efforts come as the mounting deaths, starvation and infrastructure damage in the besieged Gaza Strip due to Israel’s war have resulted in growing international criticism.

Within Europe, the concerns about Israel’s war on Gaza have also led to shifting positions – including more nations considering the possibility of recognising Palestine.

Last month, Spain and Ireland, long champions of Palestinian rights, announced alongside Malta and Slovenia that they would jointly work towards the recognition of a Palestinian state. They said they were “ready to recognise Palestine” in a move that would happen when “the circumstances are right”.

On Friday, after meeting Sanchez, Harris said, “Let me this evening say our assessment is that that point is coming much closer and we would like to move together in doing so.”

“The people of Palestine have long sought the dignity of their own country and sovereignty –  a home that like Ireland and Spain can take its place amongst the nations of the Earth.”

Sanchez said that willing countries would make their declarations “when the conditions are appropriate” and that they would support the new Palestinian state becoming “a full member of the United Nations”.

The Spanish leader has repeatedly angered Israel with his outspoken comments since the start of Israel’s war on Gaza, while Harris has already drawn a rebuke from the Israeli government this week.

Israel told the four European Union countries that committed to moving towards Palestinian recognition that their initiative would amount to a “prize for terrorism” that would reduce the chances of a negotiated resolution to the generations-old conflict.

Norway ‘stands ready’

“Norway stands ready to recognise the state of Palestine,” Norwegian Prime Minister Store, whose country is a part of the Schengen zone but not the EU, told a joint news conference with Sanchez earlier on Friday.

“We have not set a firm timetable,” he added, saying a decision on Palestine’s recognition would need to be taken in close coordination with “like-minded countries”.

In November, Norway’s parliament adopted a government proposal for the country to be prepared to recognise an independent Palestinian state.

Norway also hosted Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at the beginning of the 1990s, which led to the Oslo Accords.

Israel’s war on Gaza has killed more than 33,600 Palestinians and injured more than 76,000 others since October 7. A Hamas attack on southern Israel before the war killed about 1,100 people there.

In all, 139 out of 193 UN member states recognise Palestine as a state.

Source: News Agencies