Spain coordinates with Ireland and Norway to recognize the state of Palestine | Spain

The moment and the two initial partners with which Spain will make the historic decision to recognize the Palestinian State are already known. It will be next Tuesday, May 28, at the meeting of the Council of Ministers, and the allies with whom the announcement is coordinated, which was solemnly made by President Pedro Sánchez before the Congress of Deputies, are Ireland and Norway, two of the countries which he visited during the European tour in which he sought support for this initiative.

Spain hopes that other European countries will follow suit in the coming weeks, but for now intensive work has been going on in La Moncloa so that the announcement was not made alone, but at least together with these two countries. Ireland was always involved. The novelty is Norway, which is symbolically important because it is the location of the last peace agreements between Israelis and Palestinians, that of Oslo. Spain and Ireland originally planned to do this this week, on the 21st, but they waited a little longer and Norway was able to participate. The three prime ministers launched their announcements almost simultaneously during the morning.

The decision comes at a particularly relevant political moment, in the middle of the European election campaign, and last Wednesday's debate in Congress made it very clear that this issue, which according to the government enjoys strong support in Spain, not only among progressives, voters , as well as conservatives, will be an important part of their campaign. Although the issue does not require a vote in Congress, as it is an exclusive decision of the Council of Ministers, today's plenary session showed that the decision has the support of the entire majority supporting the government and not just the categorical rejection of Vox but also of the PP, whose leader, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has gone so far as to say that this will be harmful to the Palestinians.

The three countries were aware that Israel would respond aggressively, and Sánchez himself indicated in the debate that he is aware that his announcement will have consequences. Shortly after he said that, Israel summoned the ambassadors of those three countries, including Madrid, for consultations. However, Sánchez believes that there are several reasons for recognizing Palestine and positioning themselves in this way: at a decisive moment in the 21st century and with the Gaza war claiming lives every day, on “the right side of history”. The president confirmed that the decision was agreed with the second vice president and leader of Sumar, Yolanda Díaz, as it is a step taken by the entire coalition government.

The political reasons for recognizing Palestine, according to Sánchez, are three: “Peace, justice and cohesion.” “Only a two-state solution [Israel y Palestina] That they coexist in security guarantees makes peace possible. To achieve this, both parties must be on an equal footing,” he stressed. That is why Sánchez considers it necessary to officially recognize the country, with the aim of empowering the Palestinian Authority before the moment of negotiation arrives.

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Pedro Sánchez, today during his speech in Congress.Claudio Alvarez

Faced with the opposition's expected criticism for aiding Hamas, the Socialist leader has strongly urged harsh condemnations against them and pointed out that this admission has nothing to do with them. “Hamas is a terrorist group that has no place in the future of Palestine.” The interlocutor, the president explains, is the National Authority Palestine, political rival of Hamas, which controls Gaza but not the West Bank. “Hamas wants the disappearance of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority is our partner for peace,” he emphasized.

Sánchez has received the support of all the allies of the parliamentary majority, although many, almost all, have asked him to take tougher action against Israel and make diplomatic decisions similar to those he has just made with Argentina. This is the ambassador's withdrawal. “Resolution with the far-right Milei is fine, but coherence requires the same determination with the genocidal Netanyahu,” said Sumar spokesman Íñigo Errejón.

On the contrary, the PP and Vox have clearly rejected the decision. Alberto Núñez Feijóo has gone even further than in the last debate on this issue and although he has said that the PP continues to support the two-state solution and thus the recognition of Palestine, this is what was approved in Congress in 2014. in a non-legislative proposal agreed between the PP and the PSOE – does not believe that now is the time to take this leap, and even considers it counterproductive.

“Why do you recognize Palestine without consensus within the EU? Hamas quickly came out to celebrate. It is the second time they thank him. It's a terrorist group that mutilates children. I have already said that they must first hand over the hostages, there must be a ceasefire. If not, you are probably going to harm the Palestinian people. What will you recognize? Which territory? With which political regime? Who will be your discussion partner? Hamas?” Feijóo wondered as the Socialists shook their heads and reminded him that Sánchez had made it very clear a few minutes earlier that Hamas should not play any role in the future state and that the interlocutor is the Palestinian National Authority, whose leader Mahmud Abbas , he visited a few months ago in Ramallah.

Meanwhile, Vox leader Santiago Abascal has also rejected recognition of Palestine, accusing Sánchez of standing equidistant “between satanic terrorism and a democratic state.” Despite requests from many groups, including Sánchez himself, neither Feijóo nor Abascal ever made any critical mention of the Israeli bombing of the civilian population in Gaza.

Sánchez was on the other side and was very harsh on Netanyahu, whom he accused of “having no plan for peace in Palestine.” According to the president, the war in Gaza is unbearable; it has already claimed more than 35,000 lives; almost half are children – but Netanyahu also wants to make the two-state solution impossible, and the way to prevent this is to recognize Palestine. “Netanyahu continues to bomb hospitals, schools and homes. The International Criminal Court Prosecutor's Office has requested his arrest for war crimes. The fight against Hamas is legitimate, but with Netanyahu the two-state solution is in danger. The solution he has promoted only breeds hatred. “We cannot allow it,” the leader of the PSOE shouted during a session of Congress that the confidence of the progressives will be remembered as a historical milestone that changes Spain's position in a conflict that has always had a major presence on the Spanish political agenda the sensitivity of its citizens. “We owe a historic debt to the Palestinian people. UN resolutions have been ignored for more than half a century. This passivity must come to an end. We trust that this will give them hope and dignity,” he stressed. Although he also sought words of support and respect for Israel and the Jewish people: “This recognition is not against the people of Israel, a people we respect and value. Much less against the Jews, an admirable people closely linked to the history of Spain.”

Pedro Sánchez will receive applause from the Socialist bench at the end of his speech in Congress next Wednesday.
Pedro Sánchez will receive applause from the Socialist bench at the end of his speech in Congress next Wednesday. Claudio Alvarez

“It is very likely that the war in Gaza will ultimately be seen as one of the darkest episodes of the 21st century. When that moment comes, I want Spaniards to be able to say with their heads held high that they were on the right side of history,” Sánchez said, giving more dimension to the decision he made and which he believes has great popularity enjoyed. support. In the PP, on the other hand, they believe that this issue does not mobilize citizens and will have little relevance in the European elections. The opposition, which prefers to talk about national issues to tire the government much more than about international issues, as was evident from last Wednesday's long plenary session, hopes to deal the government a final blow at the European elections. But Sánchez, after electoral success in Catalonia and with a campaign agenda that not only concerns Palestine but also the ideological battle to stop the far right growing in Europe, is confident that he will show more resistance than expected . There are only a few days left to know the outcome of the battle.

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