Spain, Ireland, and Norway have officially recognized the state of Palestine, signaling a significant shift in European policy towards the Middle East conflict. The decision, announced in tandem by the three nations, aims to reinvigorate efforts toward a political resolution to the longstanding war in the region.

The joint recognition is seen as a strategic maneuver to rally other European countries to follow suit, creating a diplomatic push that proponents hope will contribute to securing a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages held by Hamas.

However, the symbolic gesture has sparked a furious backlash from the Israeli government, which accuses Spain, Ireland, and Norway of rewarding terrorism. Israel has retaliated by withdrawing its ambassadors from the three countries and issuing formal reprimands to their envoys in Tel Aviv. The Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassadors to a meeting where they were shown footage of recent attacks, intensifying the diplomatic spat.

The recognition of Palestine by Spain, Ireland, and Norway also adds diplomatic pressure on Israel following recent calls from international courts to halt Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) operations in southern Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been accused of war crimes by these courts, further complicating Israel’s position on the global stage.

The process of diplomatic recognition involves a formal exchange of credentials with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Existing consulates or missions in the West Bank or East Jerusalem will become formal embassies, while representatives will be elevated to full-blown ambassadors.

Spain, Ireland, and Norway emphasized that their recognition of a Palestinian state is based on pre-1967 borders, with Jerusalem designated as the capital of both Israel and Palestine.

The decision to recognize Palestine was met with mixed reactions domestically. While supporters hailed it as a historic and necessary step towards peace, critics expressed concerns about potential repercussions and the impact on Israel’s security.

The move by Spain, Ireland, and Norway follows similar actions by other European nations, including Hungary, Poland, Romania, Czechia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Sweden, and Cyprus. However, many European countries, as well as the United States, maintain that recognition of a Palestinian state should only come as part of a comprehensive political solution to the Middle East conflict.