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European states to move on Palestine recognition as Gaza war rages

Messenger Desk

Published: 12:42, 22 May 2024

European states to move on Palestine recognition as Gaza war rages

Photo: Collected

At least three European countries were expected to announce steps towards recognising a Palestinian state on Wednesday, after more than seven months of devastating fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Irish media reported that the government was expected to announce its formal recognition of a Palestinian state at a press conference by premier Simon Harris, deputy premier Micheal Martin and minister Eamon Ryan at 0700 GMT.

Norway was expected to make a similar announcement around the same time, according to two Norwegian newspapers. And in Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was scheduled to address parliament about setting a date for recognising a Palestinian state.

Sanchez said in March that Spain and Ireland, along with Slovenia and Malta, had agreed to take their first steps towards Palestinian recognition, seeing a two-state solution as essential for lasting peace.

Israel's foreign ministry posted a video addressed to Ireland on X on Tuesday warning that "recognising a Palestinian state risks turning you into a pawn in the hands of Iran and Hamas".

And Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli previously accused Sanchez's government of believing "that the Palestinians should be rewarded for the massacre" perpetrated by Hamas and its allies in southern Israel on October 7.

Hamas's October 7 attack resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures. Militants also took 252 hostages, 124 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 35,647 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

Fighting has raged around the far southern city of Rafah, the last part of Gaza to face a ground invasion -- but a resumption of fighting has also been reported in the northern Jabalia area, where Hamas forces have regrouped.

An AFP team in Rafah reported air and artillery strikes in and around the city early Wednesday.

Messenger/Disha

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