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European Trio’s Recognition of Palestine Constitutes ‘Big Failure’ for US, Israeli Diplomacy

© AP Photo / Majdi MohammedA Palestinian demonstrator holds a national flags in front of Israeli forces as they protest against President Donald Trump's Mideast initiative, in Jordan Valley in the West Bank, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020
A Palestinian demonstrator holds a national flags in front of Israeli forces as they protest against President Donald Trump's Mideast initiative, in Jordan Valley in the West Bank, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.05.2024
Norway, Ireland and Spain have announced plans to join the growing bloc of European countries which recognize Palestinian statehood. Sputnik asked a pair of respected experts in Mideast politics and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict what happens next.
Israel recalled its ambassadors to Norway, Ireland and Spain on Wednesday for “urgent consultations,” summoning envoys in Tel Aviv and threatening the countries with “severe consequences” after the trio announced plans to formally recognize Palestine – likely based on its pre-1967 borders, starting next week.
“Israel will not remain silent in the face of those undermining its sovereignty and endangering its security,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a statement after the recognition announcement.
“Today’s decision sends a message to Palestinians and the world: Terrorism pays,” Katz alleged, accusing the three countries of “choosing to reward Hamas” with statehood after its surprise incursion into southern Israel last October.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the trio’s move, saying it will help enshrine “the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination” and bring a two-state solution closer to reality. Hamas – which doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist – also welcomed the development, calling it “an important step on a path to establishing our right to our land,” and urging more countries to follow suit.

A woman wrapped in a Palestinian flag and wearing a keffiyeh takes part in a demonstration in support of the Palestinian people from the Gaza Strip, in Madrid on May 11, 2024.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.05.2024
Norway, Ireland and Spain Recognize Palestinian State
A White House National Security Council spokesperson rushed to Israel’s defense, emphasizing that while President Biden “is a strong supporter of a two-state solution and has been throughout his career,” he believes a Palestinian state “should be recognized through direct negotiations between the parties, not through unilateral recognition.”
The “direct negotiations” the spokesman mentioned refer to an effort by Washington to broker a Palestinian-Israeli settlement – with talks failing spectacularly over the course of more than three decades thanks largely to Israeli intransigence, US favoritism for Tel Aviv and efforts by Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, to divide the Palestinian liberation movement.
French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne criticized the three countries' move, saying that recognition was “not just a symbolic issue or a question of political positioning, but a diplomatic tool in the service of the solution of two states living side by side in peace and security.” Sejourne suggested conditions are not ripe to recognize Palestinian statehood.
A spokesperson for Germany’s Foreign Ministry echoed Washington and Paris’s sentiments, saying Berlin would realize its “firm goal” of recognizing an independent Palestine only through a “dialogue process.”

Sweden became the first Western European country to recognize an independent Palestinian state, doing so in 2014, 26 years after five former Eastern Bloc countries including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Romania did so in 1988, together with Cyprus.

143 of 193 members of the United Nations, including Russia, every country in the Middle East and South America, most of Africa and Asia now recognize Palestinian statehood, with Wednesday’s announcement shrinking the bloc of Western countries which have not done so.

Norway, Ireland and Spain represent a unique group of countries in terms of socio-economic development and political persuasion. Norway, for example, is not a member of the European Union, and while it was one of the first countries to recognize Israel in 1949 and boasts a “long history of friendship” with the Jewish State, it has also been highly critical of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, and of the brutality of Tel Aviv’s military operations in Gaza after October 7.
Spain and Israel only established relations in the mid-1980s, and while ties quickly warmed after that, they worsened dramatically last October, when several Spanish officials recommended that Prime Minister Netanyahu be brought before the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges. This prompted Tel Aviv to accuse the Spanish government of sympathies with terrorists. Spain, interestingly, is only of the few NATO allies which has not recognized the US-sponsored puppet regime in Kosovo, Serbia, indicating at least some readiness to act against Washington’s interests when Madrid sees fit.
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Ireland has also had a rocky relationship with Israel, with embassies between the two countries set up only in 1996, and Dublin regularly criticizing Tel Aviv over its threat to Irish peacekeepers serving in the UN-led peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, over the construction of the West Bank security wall, and over illegal Mossad operations on Irish soil.

‘Big Failure of US Diplomacy’

“Of course recognizing Palestinian state is a big step - it is significant,” Dr. Mehmet Rakipoglu, an assistant professor at the Mardin Artuklu University in Turkiye, told Sputnik.
Rakipoglu believes the three countries have been outside the US and Israeli orbit politically for some time, with some, like Ireland, sharing a special sympathy for the Palestinians based on their own experience of suffering at the hands of British imperialism.

“So, of course, this is a big failure of US diplomacy,” the observer stressed.

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“This is a normal failure of Israeli diplomacy, not [only] in these countries, but also at international level,” Ayman Yousef, professor of political science and international relations at the Arab-American University in Palestine, told Sputnik.
“It will have very good implications for other countries within the EU to recognize Palestine. We see drastic changes within the foreign policy priorities of these countries. We expect countries such as Belgium, Malta, Slovenia and even Greece and Portugal to recognize Palestine as well,” Yousef said.
Wednesday’s move “means, implicitly and explicitly, an alliance of these countries within the EU to shape its policies vis-a-vis Palestine, and it will push other countries to have the same diplomatic move here,” the observer believes.
For Palestine, the trio’s decision will also mean improving bilateral economic, political and cultural relations, and put pressure on the US, “the traditional ally of Israel, to be more balanced in its policies and reactions to the conflict in the Middle East,” Yousef said.
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Israel Has No One to Blame But Itself

Israel has only itself to blame for world opinion shifting against it, even among its traditional friends in the West, the observer stressed, pointing to the brutality of Israeli operations in Gaza, which have now killed or maimed more than five percent of the Strip’s prewar population.
“Israel destroyed nearly everything: hospitals, mosques, churches and universities, schools and all civilian foundations of Gaza. I think the level and magnitude of this destruction have pushed these countries to change their policies in the right direction. And I think many EU countries start thinking that the stability and security in the Middle East will not be achieved, it will be a remote option if they don't recognize Palestine as an independent and sovereign country,” Yousef said.
“Israel is failing not only within the EU, even in the United Nations to convince other countries. Even in the US, there is a huge opposition to policies adopted by the Israelis - the student demonstrations in many American universities being just one example of that,” the observer summed up.
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