Spain’s socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez led a group of European states in recognising Palestine as a state on Tuesday, saying the move was a step towards focussing “all our efforts to implement a two-state solution and make it a reality”.

Spain, Norway, and Ireland recognised Palestine as a state on Tuesday, making official by writ the announcement made by the group last week. The Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, was the first among the group to move on the issue this morning, claiming his position was that giving Palestine international recognition would “help Israelis and Palestinians achieve peace.”

He said Palestine includes “West Bank and Gaza connected by a corridor”, and has its capital and “legitimate government of the Palestine National Authority” in East Jerusalem.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – MAY 26: Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa (R) and Spanish Foreign Minister Juse Manuel Albares (L) hold a joint press conference after their meeting in Brussels, Belgium on May 26, 2024. (Photo by Ata Ufuk Seker/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Israel responded, saying the group are “rewarding terrorism” by giving Palestine the veneer of legitimacy around the world so soon after the October 7th terrorist attacks. Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a message addressed to Sánchez: “You are complicit in inciting the Jewish genocide and war crimes”.

Speaking in Madrid on Tuesday, Sánchez defended the outrage-provoking move by insisting he was working for peace. Further, he said, asserting Palestine is a state puts Spain in a club with “more than 140 countries that already recognise Palestine” worldwide. However, not many of those nations could be described as Western, European, or NATO members.

Describing Spain’s ambitions for the Middle East, socialist politician Sánchez continued: “The only way to realise the solution that we all recognise as the only possible one to achieve a future of peace, that of a Palestine state that coexists alongside the state of Israel in peace and security… starting tomorrow we will focus all our efforts to implement a two-state solution and make it a reality.”

Sánchez insisted the move was not “against” Israel, but rather “reflects our absolute rejection of Hamas, a terrorist organisation who is against the two-state solution. From the outset, Spain has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks of October 7th.”

Norway and Ireland also made their declarations this morning. The Irish government said in a statement that it “recognises Palestine as a sovereign and independent state and agreed to establish full diplomatic relations between Dublin and Ramallah.

“An Ambassador of Ireland to the State of Palestine will be appointed along with a full Embassy of Ireland in Ramallah.”

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris echoed Spain’s Sánchez when he made clear a “two-state solution” was the purpose of the move. He said: “We had wanted to recognise Palestine at the end of a peace process however we have made this move alongside Spain and Norway to keep the miracle of peace alive. I again call on Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel to listen to the world and stop the humanitarian catastrophe we are seeing in Gaza.”

Representatives of Spain, Norway, and Ireland met with Palestine’s Mohammad Mustafa in Brussels on Monday. He said per Euronews: “This is the beginning of realisation of peace, rather than a promise of peace that we have been waiting for for 30 years.

“It’s time to make it a reality recognition of these states and a full membership of the United Nations is the right thing to do to keep the two-state solution viable, and to keep the hope of peace for our people and the region”.

As reported, Israel responded with despair and outrage last week when the move to recognise Palestine by the European group of nations was first announced. Foreign Minister Katz accused the countries of rewarding Hamas terrorism by now giving in to their demands and said they were undermining efforts to get hostages returned.

“Israel will not remain silent in the face of those undermining its sovereignty and endangering its security. Today’s decision sends a message to the Palestinians and the world: Terrorism pays… these countries chose to reward Hamas and Iran by recognizing a Palestinian state.”