Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is applauded by deputies and government members after giving a speech to announce that Spain will recognize Palestine as a State on May 28 at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid on May 22, 2024.Photo: AFP
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is applauded by parliamentarians and government members after giving a speech to announce that Spain will recognize Palestine as a state on May 28 at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid on May 22, 2024. Photo: AFP

In a historic move that should put out the flames of war in the Middle East, Ireland, Norway and Spain announced on Wednesday the recognition of a Palestinian state. The move is hailed by Chinese experts as representing a belated correction of “a previously distorted balance” while also bringing the Palestinian issue, which had been intentionally obscured before, back into the spotlight.

Experts believe the decision could trigger a global wave of recognition of the State of Palestine, not only in support of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, but will also exert significant international pressure on Israel’s aggressive practices.

However, they noted that there is still a long way to go towards the effective establishment of a Palestinian state and that the root of the problem preventing the two-state solution from being realized lies in US prejudice and indulgence.

Ireland, Norway and Spain have confirmed that the decision will come into force from May 28, the BBC reported.

“In the midst of a war, with tens of thousands of dead and injured, we must keep alive the only alternative that offers a political solution for both Israelis and Palestinians: two states, living side by side, in peace and security,” said the Norwegian. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, according to a government press release on Wednesday.

The statement added: “There will be no peace in the Middle East without a two-state solution. There can be no two-state solution without a Palestinian state.”

In Madrid, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez stressed that recognition “is not against anyone, but in favor of peace and coexistence”. While his Irish counterpart, Simon Harris, said the decision “is taken to help create a peaceful future” for both the Israeli and Palestinian people.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, commenting on the latest development, said at Wednesday’s press conference that China always firmly supports the just cause of the Palestinian people in restoring their legitimate national rights, supports the two-state solution and is one of the first countries to recognize the State of Palestine. China’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is consistent.

“We believe that the immediate priority is to implement UNSCR 2728, immediately implement the ceasefire, put an end to the unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Gaza and return to the right path in seeking a political solution to the Palestinian issue based on the solution of two states as quickly as possible,” Wang said.

China will continue to work with the international community to play a constructive role in ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as early as possible and promoting a comprehensive, fair and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue, the spokesperson said.

“The announcement by the three countries reflects growing dissatisfaction and concern in the international community regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, particularly on the Israeli side, as their attack has led to a serious humanitarian crisis, intensifying concerns about the future of the region,” said Zhu Yongbiao. , director of the School of Politics and International Relations at Lanzhou University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

“In this context, the decision actually means a process of correcting the previously distorted balance, with more public opinion and practical support now contributing to rectifying past practices,” Zhu said.

Liu Zhongmin, professor at the Institute of Middle East Studies at Shanghai University of International Studies, believes that as the horrors and sorrows in Gaza have brought the previously marginalized Palestinian issue back to the center of Middle East affairs, more Countries are pushing for the implementation of the two-state solution, not only to safeguard the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, but also to provide a long-term peace and security solution for Israel.

One of the reasons the announcements reached this point is that, on May 11, the UN General Assembly voted by a wide margin to approve a resolution granting Palestine new rights and reviving its bid for UN membership. However, the US has made clear that it will block membership and the creation of a Palestinian state “until direct negotiations with Israel resolve key issues”.

The vote reflects broad global support for Palestine to establish a state and a growing divergence within the Western camp on the issue, Liu told the Global Times on Wednesday. Although it is not yet possible to achieve this at the UN level, many are seeking recognition of the Palestinian state through bilateral means, Liu said.

Chain reactions

Chinese observers believe that the decision of these three European countries will likely trigger a series of chain reactions across the world. “Ireland, Norway and Spain play an important role, especially in human rights issues on the global stage,” Zhu noted. So not only will more EU members follow suit, but countries from other regions will also be able to join.

This could potentially trigger a wave of recognition of Palestinian statehood, with more countries supporting Palestine’s formal membership in the UN, Zhu said.

According to the AP, several EU countries have indicated in recent weeks that they plan to recognize, arguing that a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region. The decision could also encourage new measures at the UN level, deepening Israel’s isolation.

In response, Israel says it is recalling its envoys to the three countries and called the plans “distorted” that will “fuel extremism and instability,” said the BBC report.

Around 140 of the 190 countries represented in the UN countries have already recognized a Palestinian state, according to media reports. The UK and the US are among the nations that do not formally recognize a Palestinian state.

The root cause of the problem lies in obstruction by the US, experts noted. Despite verbally claiming to support the two-state solution, the US has done nothing but consistently show partiality and leniency towards Israel, whether by preventing Palestine from becoming a UN member state or refusing to recognize Palestinian statehood.

“As the world’s biggest superpower and leader of the Western camp, the US’s opposition to Palestine’s status upgrade will make others hesitate,” Tian Wenlin, a researcher at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Wednesday . . “However, it is clear that the gap within the West regarding its position in the Middle East is widening, or even moving further away.”

Tian added that the three countries’ decision may have limited influence on the current situation in Gaza. “It appears that international pressure is unlikely to change Israel’s unilateral actions.”

Por Fan Anqi
Originally published in Global Times.


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