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Israeli Outrage Over European Trio’s Recognition of Palestinian State

Israel responded with strong anger following the announcement by three European nations on Wednesday that they would formally recognize a Palestinian state, coming more than seven months into the ongoing Gaza conflict.

Ireland, Norway, and Spain declared their intention to recognize the State of Palestine on May 28, a decision that garnered praise from numerous Arab and Muslim countries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the move as a “reward for terror,” citing the October 7 attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas that triggered the Gaza conflict.

Israel announced the recall of its ambassadors to Dublin, Oslo, and Madrid for “urgent consultations” and summoned the ambassadors of the three European countries for a diplomatic reprimand.

European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell stated his commitment to collaborate with the EU’s 27 member states “to promote a common EU position based on a 2-state solution” in a post on X.

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, representing the far-right, made his first visit to the Temple Mount in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem since October 7. He criticized the recognition of Palestine, stating it rewarded “murderers and aggressors”.

His visits to the site, known as the Al-Aqsa mosque compound to Muslims, have been cited by Hamas as a catalyst for their October attack on Israel, referred to as the “Al-Aqsa Flood”.

The White House, through President Joe Biden, expressed opposition to unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, emphasizing it should be achieved “through direct negotiations”. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan cautioned Israel against withholding funding intended for the Palestinian Authority in retaliation.

While many Western governments, including the United States, express willingness to recognize Palestinian statehood eventually, they stress the importance of resolving contentious issues such as final borders and the status of Jerusalem first.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store framed recognition of Palestine as support for moderate forces amidst the ongoing conflict. He emphasized the need for a two-state solution, emphasizing peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez criticized Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, suggesting his actions endangered the two-state solution by causing pain and resentment in Gaza and Palestine.

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris condemned the October 7 attack as “barbaric” but stressed the necessity of a two-state solution to break the cycle of violence, retaliation, and resentment.

Significant Progress

The Palestinian Authority reports that 142 out of 193 UN member states recognize a Palestinian state. The Palestine Liberation Organization hails recent developments as “historic”. Hamas sees it as a “significant step” towards asserting their land rights. Ismail Hassuna from Gaza welcomes the European trio’s decision as a source of hope.

Ines Abdul Razek, a political analyst, considers the move symbolic but urges concrete actions like sanctions against Israel. Hamas’s October 7 attack resulted in over 1,170 deaths, mostly civilians. Israeli military figures indicate 252 hostages were taken, with 124 still held.

A campaign group releases footage of five captured Israeli soldiers. Netanyahu vows to continue fighting Hamas to prevent similar incidents. Israel’s response has led to at least 35,709 deaths in Gaza, mostly women and children.

The blockade has left Gaza facing severe shortages of essentials, pushing many to the brink of famine.

Deadly fighting 

Intense fighting continues in Rafah, Gaza’s last area facing a ground invasion, with ongoing bombardment reported early Wednesday. Heavy battles are also occurring in Gaza’s northern and central regions, alongside additional Israeli airstrikes hitting several locations.

Israeli forces are engaged on the ground in Rafah and Jabalia, with three more soldiers reported killed on Wednesday, bringing total army casualties since October 27 to 287. Overnight, ten fatalities were reported in Al-Zawaida, while six bodies were retrieved from a collapsed house in Jabalia.

Israel’s military conducted targeted raids on multiple Hamas military compounds in Jabalia. The World Health Organization highlighted the dire situation in northern Gaza, where the only two operational hospitals, Al-Awda and Kamal Adwan, are under siege, trapping over 200 patients.

Israeli troops initiated their ground assault on Rafah earlier this month, despite concerns for the civilian population. Evacuation orders were issued, with over 800,000 people reported to have fled.

Heavy clashes are also occurring in the occupied West Bank, particularly in Jenin, where Israeli raids have entered their second day. The Palestinian health ministry confirmed ten fatalities since Tuesday morning’s onset of fighting.

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