‘Against violence towards civilians’: Armenia recognises Palestinian state

Significant move prompts Israel to summon Armenian ambassador for ‘harsh reprimand’.

Israeli forces step up bombardment across Gaza, amid fierce fighting
Palestinians fill water containers in the Jabalia refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip, on June 20, 2024 [Omar al-Qatta/AFP]

Armenia has formally recognised a Palestinian state, the latest country to do so during the war in Gaza, prompting Israel to summon the Armenian ambassador.

In announcing the move on Friday, Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also condemned Israel’s military conduct in the Gaza Strip and Palestinian group Hamas’s taking of captives.

“Armenia deplores using civilian infrastructure as shields during armed conflicts and violence towards civilian populations,” the ministry said, adding that it joined the international community in demanding the release of the captives.

More than 37,400 people have been killed in Israel’s war on Gaza since October 7. The death toll in Israel from the Hamas-led attacks stands at 1,139, with dozens of people still being held captive in Gaza.

Shortly after the former Soviet republic announced the recognition, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Armenia’s ambassador.

“Following Armenia’s recognition of a Palestinian state, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Ambassador of Armenia to Israel for a harsh reprimand conversation,” according to a ministry spokesperson.

In May, Spain formally recognised Palestine as a state, joining Ireland, Norway and 143 other countries in acknowledging Palestinian statehood.

Speaking in Madrid, Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said recognition of a Palestinian state was an important message to reject double standards.

Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior official from the Palestinian Authority, welcomed the move. “This is a victory for right, justice, legitimacy and the struggle of our Palestinian people for liberation and independence,” he said on social media.

“Thank you, our friend Armenia,” he said.

Armenia said it also supported a United Nations resolution on an immediate ceasefire in Israel’s war on Gaza and was in favour of a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank, said in a statement that Armenia’s recognition contributed to “preserving the two-state solution, which faces systematic challenges, and promotes security, peace and stability for all parties involved”.

Israel is a major arms supplier to Armenia’s arch foe and neighbour Azerbaijan, with which it has been locked in a decades-long territorial dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region that Baku recaptured last year from Armenian separatists.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies