Spain, Ireland and Norway will recognize a Palestinian state

Spain, Ireland and Norway will recognize a Palestinian state
Spain, Ireland and Norway will recognize a Palestinian state
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Keystone-SDA

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May 22, 2024 – 1:51 p.m.

(Keystone-ATS) Israel on Wednesday slammed the announcement by three European countries to recognize the State of Palestine. This at a time when Israeli strikes and fighting are not letting up in the Gaza Strip in the war with the Islamist movement Hamas.

Ireland and Norway, who with Spain have recognized the State of Palestine, want to send “a message to the Palestinians and the whole world: terrorism pays,” responded the head of Israeli diplomacy, Israel Katz.

“After the terrorist organization Hamas carried out the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, after committing the most horrific sexual crimes the world has known, these countries chose to reward Hamas and Iran and recognize a Palestinian state,” he added.

“Historical moments”

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) hailed “historic moments”.

Spain, Ireland and Norway announced on Wednesday their coordinated decision to recognize a Palestinian state in the hope of leading other countries to do the same. Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre was the first to announce this recognition on May 28.

Hailing a “historic day”, his Irish counterpart Simon Harris followed shortly after, as did the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, one of the most critical voices towards the military operation in Gaza.

In response, Israel recalled its ambassadors in Ireland and Norway on Wednesday “for consultation”. The Islamist movement, which took power in 2007 in Gaza, judged that the “Palestinian resistance” had allowed these recognitions, welcoming an “important step”.

The Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, welcomed the decision of the three European countries, calling on all countries to “follow the example of the three countries in their courageous approach”.

New strikes

On the ground, Israeli airstrikes were carried out on Wednesday across the Gaza Strip, notably in Rafah (south), Jabalia, Zeitoun and Gaza City (north), according to witnesses.

Early Wednesday, an AFP team also reported artillery fire in and around Rafah (south), an overpopulated city where certain sectors have been the scene of ground operations since the beginning of the month despite opposition from the international community. Explosions were also heard by witnesses.

Before its incursion on the ground, the Israeli army had ordered massive evacuations from Rafah where it said it wanted to destroy the last battalions of Hamas, its network of tunnels, and rescue the hostages.

Ten people were killed and several injured in Al-Zawaida (center) during nighttime strikes, according to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital.

Since Israel took control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on May 7, the delivery of humanitarian aid has virtually stopped, particularly fuel, essential for hospitals and the humanitarian logistics.

According to the UN, 1.1 million people in the Palestinian territory face “catastrophic levels of hunger”. The UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa, announced that it would suspend its food distributions in Rafah “due to the lack of supplies and insecurity”.

Hard blow

Faced with severe restrictions imposed on aid by land, the United States announced in March the establishment of a temporary port in Gaza, an initiative considered insufficient by the UN, NGOs and by American leaders themselves. same.

Since he took office on Friday, approximately 569 tons of aid have been delivered to Gaza, according to the US military. But this aid has still not been distributed to the population, the American Department of Defense announced Tuesday evening.

The European announcements come as a further blow to Israel after International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan said on Monday he had requested arrest warrants against Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for crimes including “deliberate starvation of civilians”, “intentional homicide” and “extermination and/or murder”.

Hamas leaders are also targeted by this request for arrest warrants, for “extermination”, “rape and other forms of sexual violence” and “hostage-taking as a war crime”.

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