Israel does not let up after the recognition of the State of Palestine by European countries | TV5MONDE

Israel does not let up after the recognition of the State of Palestine by European countries | TV5MONDE
Israel does not let up after the recognition of the State of Palestine by European countries | TV5MONDE

Israel is not angry on Thursday after the decision of three European countries to recognize the State of Palestine, in the midst of a war between its army and Palestinian Hamas in the Gaza Strip where bombings continue.

Early Thursday, an AFP team reported strikes in the Rafah sector (south), while witnesses noted intense bombings in Gaza City, in the north of the territory ravaged by more than seven months of war tirelessly.

Spain, Ireland and Norway announced on Wednesday their decision to jointly recognize a Palestinian state in the hope of leading other countries to do the same, while the two-state solution is, according to Madrid, ” in danger”.

The creation of a viable Palestinian state appears to be a very uncertain prospect due in particular to the absence of talks in this direction and to Jewish colonization in the occupied West Bank.

But this recognition is considered a diplomatic victory for the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas while the State of Palestine is recognized, according to it, by 142 of the 193 member states of the UN, mainly non-Western.

And it represents a new setback for Israel after International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan requested arrest warrants against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for alleged “crimes against humanity”, as well as against the leaders of Hamas.

“Israel will not remain silent on this question” of recognition, thundered Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, announcing the summons of the ambassadors of Spain, Ireland and Norway, and the recall for consultations of the Israeli ambassadors in these three countries.

After their announcement, Colombia confirmed its plan to open an embassy in Ramallah, a city in the occupied West Bank where Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority is headquartered.

In early May, the president of Colombia, whose country was a key ally of Israel in Latin America, announced the severance of diplomatic ties between the two countries, calling the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “genocidal” in its conduct of the war in Gaza.

“Reward” for Hamas

Recognition of the State of Palestine is “a reward for terrorism,” said Benjamin Netanyahu, a fierce opponent of the idea of ​​such a state alongside Israel. “We cannot give this Evil a State.”

“After the terrorist organization Hamas perpetrated the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust (…) these countries chose to reward Hamas (…) and recognize a Palestinian state,” underlined Mr. Katz .

The three European states announced their decision as the war rages between Israel and Hamas since an unprecedented attack launched on October 7, 2023 by commandos of the Palestinian Islamist movement infiltrated from the neighboring Gaza Strip in southern Israel.

The attack resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data. Of the 252 people taken as hostages on October 7, 124 are still being held in Gaza, including 37 dead, according to the army.

The families of five Israeli soldiers held hostage in Gaza on Wednesday authorized the broadcast of images of their capture, showing the young women, some with bloody faces, sitting on the ground in their pajamas, their hands tied behind their backs by their captors, before being taken by jeep.

In response to the attack, Mr. Netanyahu vowed to wipe out Hamas, with his army launching a devastating offensive in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the European Union and the United States, United took power in 2007.

At least 35,709 Palestinians, mostly civilians, died in this offensive, according to the Health Ministry of the Hamas-led government of the Palestinian territory.

“Empty shells”

The Palestinian Islamist movement hailed recognition on Wednesday as an “important step” and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the only official representative of the Palestinians on the international scene, spoke of “historic moments”. Arab countries also welcomed it.

But in Rafah, a town in southern Gaza subject to daily Israeli bombings, Ahmed Ziad, 35, denounced “empty shells if America and other European countries (…) do not support” such recognition.

Israel’s main supporter, US President Joe Biden, reiterated that a “Palestinian state (must) come into being through direct negotiations between the parties, not through unilateral recognition”.

“More targeted” in Rafah

These latest developments come as Israeli soldiers continue their ground operations “against Hamas targets” in areas of Rafah.

The United States, which has threatened to stop certain arms deliveries to Israel in the event of a large-scale ground offensive in Rafah where more than a million civilians are trapped, judged on Wednesday that the operation was now “more targeted and limited”, while expressing concern about the fate of civilians there.

By entering with their tanks in eastern Rafah, the soldiers also took control of the Palestinian side of the eponymous crossing point with Egypt, the main entrance for humanitarian aid, and then closed it.

Since then, the delivery of aid has virtually stopped, while according to the UN, 1.1 million Palestinians in Gaza face “catastrophic levels of hunger”.

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