Norway, Ireland, Spain recognizing independent Palestinian state as Israel-Hamas war continues

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said Wednesday the country will recognize an independent Palestinian state amid the ongoing war between Israeli forces and Hamas terrorists in Gaza, in hopes that the recognition will help bring peace between the two sides.

“In the middle of a war, with tens of thousands of dead and injured, we must keep alive the only thing that can provide a safe home for both Israelis and Palestinians: two states that can live in peace with each other,” Støre said at a news conference.

Ireland and Spain are also announcing the recognition of a Palestinian state, according to Reuters.

European Union members Slovenia and Malta have also indicated in recent weeks that they intend to recognize a Palestinian state, arguing that a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the Middle East.

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Prior to Støre’s announcement on Wednesday, 143 out of 193 member-states of the United Nations recognized a Palestinian state, though European countries are not all on the same side of the issue of a Palestinian state. 

Some countries, such as Sweden, recognized a Palestinian state in the past, and others, like France, have no plans for recognition unless it can be an effective tool to make progress toward peace.

This indication comes as Israeli forces launched more attacks on the northern and southern edges of the Gaza Strip, causing a new exodus of hundreds of thousands of people and restricting the flow of aid. The recent attacks are part of Israel’s continued offensive into Gaza in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on the Jewish State.

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Norway, which is not a member of the European Union, has long said it would recognize Palestine as a country only if it could have a positive impact on ensuring peace, which is in line with what the U.S. has said on the issue of a Palestinian state.

Norway has sought to help broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians on several occasions in recent decades.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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