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Three European countries formally recognize Palestinian statehood

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Three European countries formally recognized an independent Palestinian state on Tuesday, sparking anger from Israel as it continues its military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

The measures previously announced by Spain, Norway and Ireland are Largely symbolicBut it was a rebuke of Israel amid growing international discontent over its military offensive in Gaza and years of occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The Israeli airstrike sparked global outrage on Sunday. Dozens of people died The Israeli military carried out the attack on the Palestinian displaced persons camp in Rafah despite international calls for the military to halt its offensive on the southern Gaza city, and analysts said growing concerns about the civilian death toll could prompt more countries to follow suit.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Tuesday defendant Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has been charged with conspiracy to incite anti-Semitism for his role in recognizing a Palestinian state.

But Sanchez rejected that claim in a speech ahead of a cabinet vote on the matter on Tuesday, saying recognition of sovereignty in the South China Sea was a matter of “historical justice” and a “necessary condition” for peace.

“Recognizing Palestine is not against anyone, least of all Israel, a friendly country that Spain cherishes and respects and with which we want the strongest possible relations,” he said on the steps of the Moncloa Palace, the prime minister’s official residence in Madrid. “Moreover, our decision reflects our absolute rejection of Hamas, a terrorist organization that opposes a two-state solution.”

Ireland on Tuesday hoisted a Palestinian flag outside the presidential palace alongside the flags of the European Union and Ukraine. Ireland said it had agreed to establish full diplomatic relations and would appoint an ambassador to Palestine. “We take this step together with Spain and Norway to keep the miracle of peace alive,” said Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris. “I once again call on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to listen to the world and stop the humanitarian disaster we are seeing in Gaza.”

Although many countries Recognized the establishment of PalestineThe closely coordinated action by the three European countries takes on extra significance against the backdrop of the intensifying war in Gaza, as most Western European countries and the United States have refused to take such a step in solidarity with Israel.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said in an interview last week that Norway was taking steps, along with Spain and Ireland, to try to salvage the possibility of a two-state solution in the face of the Israeli government’s public rejection of it.

Mr. Storey said Norway wanted to break what he saw as a “vicious cycle whereby militant groups such as Hamas set the agenda on the Palestinian side while the Israeli government builds “hundreds of thousands of settlers” in the occupied territories.

Mr. Storey said that even if a two-state reality seemed out of reach, “more and more countries in Europe are making the same analysis as Norway, that Palestinians should have the same rights and obligations required for statehood”, committed to peace and bound by international law.

The moves may have little immediate impact on conditions for Palestinians in Gaza, where health authorities say more than 36,000 people have died in more than seven months of Israeli bombardment and ground fighting.

The White House has categorically refused to unilaterally recognize the establishment of a Palestinian state. National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said that President Biden “believes that the establishment of a Palestinian state should be achieved through direct negotiations between the two sides.”

Alan Boxman, Steven Erlanger and Emma Bubola Contributed reporting.

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