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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Spain, Norway and Ireland Recognize a Palestinian State: Israel-Gaza War Live Updates - The New York Times

Middle East Crisis Spain, Norway and Ireland Recognize a Palestinian State, a Blow to Israel

Men and women wearing suits and other professional clothing stand in tiered rows and clap.
Members of the government and Parliament on Wednesday in Madrid as Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, announced that the country would recognize a state of Palestine.Thomas Coex/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store of Norway announcing on Wednesday that his country would recognize Palestine as an independent state.Erik Flaaris Johansen/NTB, via Reuters

Spain, Norway and Ireland said on Wednesday that they would recognize an independent Palestinian state, a rebuke to Israel that, though largely symbolic, reflected dwindling international patience with its military offensive in Gaza and its decades of occupation of Palestinian territories.

Scores of countries have recognized Palestinian statehood, but the closely coordinated announcements by the three nations carried added weight amid the growing toll of the war in Gaza, and because most Western European countries have resisted taking such a step out of solidarity with Israel.

The Israeli finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, left, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that Israel will no longer send tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority.Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

Israel will not transfer much-needed funds to the Palestinian Authority in the wake of the decision by three European countries to recognize a Palestinian state, the country’s finance minister said on Wednesday, as its foreign minister denounced the European moves as giving “a gold medal to Hamas terrorists.”

The decision by the finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, a far-right leader who opposes Palestinian sovereignty, threatened to push the Palestinian government into a deeper fiscal crisis. He said in a statement that he had informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would no longer send tax revenues to the authority, which administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank in close cooperation with Israel.

Prime Minister Yitzahk Rabin of Israel, President Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, at the signing of the Oslo Accords in Washington in 1993. Norway hosted the clandestine meetings that led to the signing that year.J. David Ake/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Scores of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, but Norway’s announcement on Wednesday that it would do so carried added significance because it hosted the clandestine meetings in 1993 that led to the Oslo Accords, the framework for peace that came close to resolving the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. It ultimately failed.

Norway calls itself a friend of Israel, and the two countries have a longstanding relationship. But since Oct. 7, when Israel launched a military offensive in Gaza in response to Hamas-led attacks, Norway has also sharply condemned Israel’s conduct of the war. 

Simon Harris, Ireland’s prime minister, center, spoke alongside Eamon Ryan, left, the environment minister, and Micheál Martin, the foreign minister, after Ireland recognized the state of Palestine in Dublin on Wednesday.Tolga Akmen/EPA, via Shutterstock

When the Irish government on Wednesday announced formal recognition of an independent Palestinian state, it drew on its own struggle for statehood and the violence that surrounded it.

“From our own history we know what it means: recognition is an act of powerful political and symbolic value,” Simon Harris, the taoiseach, or prime minister of Ireland, said at a news briefing. 

People intercept a truck with humanitarian aid coming from a U.S.-built temporary pier.Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

None of the food and supplies that have entered the Gaza Strip through a U.S.-built temporary pier in its first five days of operation have been distributed to Palestinians by aid organizations, Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, the Pentagon spokesman, said at a news briefing on Tuesday.

General Ryder said that 569 metric tons of aid had made it onto Gaza’s shore, but that those supplies had yet to be parceled out by humanitarian organizations.

Smoke billowing after a strike on Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, seen from Beit Lahia, on Sunday.Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Surrounded by the sound of bombs, with terrified patients huddled far from windows, fuel running low and clean water gone, the acting director of Al Awda Hospital, one of the last hospitals in northern Gaza, said he was grappling with a grim sense of déjà vu.

“Nobody can move, nobody can be close to the windows,” said Dr. Mohammad Salha, the acting director. During an 18-day siege at Al Awda in December, three medical workers were shot and killed through the windows."

Spain, Norway and Ireland Recognize a Palestinian State: Israel-Gaza War Live Updates - The New York Times

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