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Spain's Prime Minister Says Cabinet to Recognize a Palestinian State as EU Rift with Israel Widens

Barcelona: Prime Minister Pedro Snchez said the Spanish Cabinet will recognize a Palestinian state at its Tuesday morning meeting as a European Union rift with Israel widens.

Ireland and Norway were also to make official their recognition of a Palestinian state later in the day. While dozens of countries have recognized a Palestinian state, none of the major Western powers has done so.

This is a historic decision that has a single goal, and that is to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve peace, said Snchez, standing at the gates of the prime minister’s palace in Madrid, during a televised speech.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz, however, lashed out at Spain on X, saying Sanchez’s government was being complicit in inciting genocide against Jews and war crimes.

Relations between the EU and Israel nosedived Monday, the eve of the diplomatic recognition of EU members Ireland and Spain, with Madrid insisting that the EU should take action against Israel for its continued deadly attacks in southern Gaza’s city of Rafah. Norway, which is not an EU member but often aligns its foreign policy with the bloc, handed diplomatic papers to the Palestinian government over the weekend ahead of its formal recognition of a Palestinian state.

At the same time, the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell threw his weight to support the International Criminal Court, whose prosecutor is seeking an arrest warrant against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others, including leaders of the Hamas militant group. In his speech on Tuesday, Snchez said that the recognition of a Palestinian state was a decision that we do not adopt against anyone, least of all against Israel, a friendly people whom we respect, whom we appreciate, and with whom we want to have the best possible relationship.

The Socialist leader, who announced his country’s decision before parliament last week, has spent months touring European and Middle Eastern countries to garner support for recognition and a cease-fire in Gaza.

He called for a permanent cease-fire, for stepping up humanitarian aid into Gaza, and for the release of hostages that Hamas has held since the October 7 attack that triggered Israel’s response.

Snchez said that the move was to back the beleaguered Palestinian National Authority, which lost effective political control of Gaza to Hamas. He laid out his vision for a state ruled by the Palestinian National Authority that must connect the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem through a corridor.

We will not recognize changes in the 1967 border lines other than those agreed to by the parties, Snchez added.

Furthermore, this decision reflects our absolute rejection of Hamas, a terrorist organization that is against the two-state solution, Snchez said. From the outset, Spain has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks of October 7. This clear condemnation is the resounding expression of our steadfast commitment to the fight against terrorism. I would like to underline that starting tomorrow we will focus all our efforts on implementing the two-state solution and make it a reality.

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