NewsAre more European nations finally moving to recognise Palestine statehood?

Are more European nations finally moving to recognise Palestine statehood?

EXPLAINER

Spain and Ireland are discussing a collective plan to recognise Palestine as a state amid Israel’s war on Gaza.

The premiers of Spain and Ireland are set to meet on Friday to discuss a collective plan to recognise Palestinian statehood.

This meeting comes as the death toll of Israel’s war in Gaza has surpassed 33,000.

The mounting deaths, starvation and infrastructure in the besieged enclave have resulted in growing international criticism of Israel. Within Europe, the concerns over Israel’s war on Gaza have also led to shifting positions — including more nations considering the possibility of recognising the Palestinian state.

Here’s where things stand — and how they’re changing.

What are Ireland and Spain saying about Palestinian statehood?

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will meet Ireland’s newly appointed leader Simon Harris in Dublin on Friday. Both Spain and Ireland have in recent weeks confirmed that they will recognise a Palestinian state.

This is the first of many meetings Sanchez intends to have over the next week to garner support for the recognition of Palestine.

Sanchez plans to also meet with the prime ministers of Norway, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia and Belgium, government spokeswoman Pilar Alegria told reporters.

“We want to stop the humanitarian disaster in Gaza and help kickstart a political peace process leading to the realisation of the two-state solution as early as possible,” Alegria said.

Over the course of the war that started on October 7, Ireland and Spain have emerged as the biggest supporters of Palestine in the European Union (EU).

Are others in Europe shifting positions on Palestinian statehood?

At a summit on March 22, the leaders of Ireland and Spain were also joined by their counterparts from Slovenia and Malta in committing to the recognition of a Palestinian state.

Currently, only eight of the 27 EU members recognise Palestine as a state: Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, Sweden and Cyprus.

If Ireland, Spain, Slovenia and Malta join them, the number of EU members that recognise the Palestinian state will go up to 12.

However, the EU as a body does not recognise Palestine as a state — despite multiple diplomatic efforts over the years from within the bloc to do so. Some of the EU’s most powerful and influential nations, including Germany and France, hold the position that Palestinian statehood should only be recognised as part of a two-state solution with Israel.

Is Europe’s position on the war changing more broadly?

Israel has also received criticism from other European countries over the course of the war. On November 10, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo deemed Israel’s campaign in Gaza disproportionate.

“If you bomb an entire refugee camp with the intention of eliminating a terrorist, I don’t think it’s proportionate,” he said, but insisted that “Belgium will not take sides”.

A few days after that,

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