Spain moves closer to official recognition of Palestine

Before the summer, Spain should join the 139 countries (including 9 member states of the European Union) which officially recognize the Palestinian state. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who had already promised this diplomatic gesture, set the deadline on Tuesday April 2 during a visit to Amman, Jordan. “We have to think seriously about doing it this semester,” the socialist leader told a group of Spanish journalists informally. The head of government began a tour of three countries in the Middle East which is due to end this Wednesday, April 3 in Qatar, after a stop in Saudi Arabia.

Madrid also supports Palestine’s request to become a full member state of the UN, its current status being, since November 2012, that of “observer”. The Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, sent a letter to this effect on Tuesday to the presidency of the Security Council, held by Malta this month. France also seems in favor of this accession: in February, during a visit to Jordan, Emmanuel Macron considered that the subject was not “a taboo for France”.

Thirteen countries have already done so in Europe

Pedro Sánchez’s comments accelerate the timetable set for the recognition of a Palestinian state. On March 9, the head of government declared that he would propose to the Madrid Parliament to vote on this measure by the end of the legislature, in the summer of 2027. And on March 22, on the sidelines of a European summit in Brussels, he published a joint declaration with his Irish, Maltese and Slovenian counterparts in which the four states said they were “ready to recognize Palestine”.

These countries would thus join the thirteen others on the European continent (including 9 members of the EU) which grant Palestine state status. Sweden, which is one of them, inaugurated the Palestinian embassy in Stockholm in February 2015, in the presence of Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. Other nations, including France, host a “Palestinian mission” on their soil, which does not have the rank of embassy. The one based in Paris is represented by Hala Abou-Assira.

Pedro Sánchez has repeatedly affirmed that the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires the recognition of two states. And Spain remains, within the European Union, with Ireland and Belgium, one of the most critical voices vis-à-vis Israel since the start of the war triggered by the attack on Hamas on October 7. On February 17, six members of the government participated in a parade in Madrid demanding an immediate ceasefire: Transport Minister Oscar Puente, a socialist, and five members of the radical left Sumar party, partners of the Socialist Party (PSOE). in a left-wing coalition.

Ambassador reminder

At the end of 2023, critical statements from Pedro Sánchez provoked the anger of Benjamin Netanyahu and a serious diplomatic crisis. On November 24, the Spanish Prime Minister and his Belgian counterpart, Alexandre De Croo, held a joint conference at the Rafah crossing point, on the border between Gaza and Egypt. After reaffirming Israel’s right to defend itself, Sánchez said: “The indiscriminate killings of innocent civilians, including thousands of children, boys and girls, are totally unacceptable.” Israel then recalled its ambassador to Madrid. She has since returned to her position, but relations remain strained.

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