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More European Nations Moving Closer to Recognizing a Palestinian State

European nations are increasingly aligning in support of Palestinian statehood, with Ireland and Spain, along with other European allies, taking significant steps towards formal recognition, signaling a potential shift in European policy towards the Israel-Palestine conflict.

During a meeting in Dublin on Friday, Irish taoiseach Simon Harris and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez reiterated their commitment to advancing the Palestinian cause. They expressed a desire to coordinate efforts with other European countries to push for a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The move comes amid heightened tensions, particularly in Gaza, where Israel's offensive actions against Hamas has resulted in a growing death toll and urgent calls for a ceasefire.

"Ireland is on the brink of formally recognizing a Palestinian state and seeks to do so in collaboration with Spain and other like-minded countries," stated Harris after the meeting. He emphasized the need for a concerted effort to address the root causes of the conflict and promote lasting peace in the region.

Sánchez, who has emerged as a leading advocate for Palestinian rights within the European Union, stressed the importance of multilateral action in addressing the crisis. "We must take decisive steps to halt the suffering in Gaza and advance a political process that leads to the establishment of two viable, independent states," he stated.

The joint initiative by Ireland and Spain indicates a larger shift in European attitudes regarding the Israel-Palestine issue. Several other European countries, like Malta and Slovenia, have expressed their willingness to help. At a conference on March 22, Ireland and Spain's leaders were joined by their Slovenian and Malta counterparts in committing to the recognition of a Palestinian state.

Only eight of the EU’s 27 countries currently recognize Palestine as a state: Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, Sweden, and Cyprus. If Ireland, Spain, Slovenia, and Malta join them, the number of EU states that recognize the Palestinian state will reach 12. Although the European Union favors the so-called two-state solution, which would give Palestinians statehood, it has not yet recognized a Palestinian state.

The move is likely to face pushback from Israel, which has denounced such initiatives as undermining the prospects for a negotiated settlement. However, proponents argue that recognizing Palestinian statehood is essential for promoting stability, security, and justice in the region.

But it is not surprising to see Ireland, Malta, Slovenia, and Spain taking the lead among EU members on this front, given their long-held positions in support of Palestinian self-determination.

Ideally, these governments would have preferred to pursue this recognition within the EU framework, which could have offered them greater influence. However, the pro-Israel stance of countries like Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands presented a significant obstacle.

As a result, policymakers in Dublin, Ljubljana, Madrid, and Valletta concluded that their most viable approach was to proceed within a smaller coalition of like-minded EU members.

Experts say it is possible that a few more European countries will join soon and agree to recognize the State of Palestine.

“This decision might trigger a few more recognitions, but I do not expect an avalanche,” Marco Carnelos, former Italian ambassador to Iraq, said. “Other EU member states will watch what the big members like Germany, France, and Italy will do.” According to Carnelos, there are “no chances” of Germany or Italy, under Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, agreeing to such a move.


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