Controversial recognition of Palestine comes into effect for Norway, Ireland and Spain

Norway, Ireland and Spain formally recognise the state of Palestinian this Tuesday in a decision slammed by Israel as a "reward" for Hamas after more than seven months of devastating war in the Gaza Strip.

The plans were unveiled last week in a coordinated announcement by the countries respective prime ministers, with formal recognition to take place in all three countries by Tuesday.

Strong symbolic impact

The three European countries believe their initiative has strong symbolic impact, which will likely encourage others to follow suit.

They also point to Norway and Spain's historic role in advancing Israel-Palestinian peace efforts: in 1991, the two sides sat down together for the first time at a Madrid peace conference that paved the way for the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Speaking Tuesday in Madrid, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said before a cabinet meeting: "Recognition of the State of Palestine is not only a matter of historic justice... Is it also an essential requirement if we are all to achieve peace."

The move, he said, was "not against anyone, least of all Israel".

"It is the only way to move towards the solution that we all recognise as the only possible way to achieve a peaceful future – that of a Palestinian state living side-by-side with the state of Israel in peace and security".

Sanchez also said the decision reflected Spain's "outright rejection of Hamas, which is against the two-state solution" and whose 7 October attacks led to the Gaza war.

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