Sun. Jun 9th, 2024

An official in the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank welcomed on Wednesday the announcement by Norway, Ireland and Spain to recognize a Palestinian state in a historic move.

Ammar Hijazi, the Palestinian Assistant Minister for Multilateral Affairs, said “this is an astounding message of support to the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, independence and statehood, which is non-negotiable.”

“We believe it’s also an astounding message against apartheid, colonialism and genocide,” he added.

Several European Union countries indicated in recent weeks that they plan to make the recognition, arguing a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region.

Some 140 countries have already recognized a Palestinian state — more than two-thirds of United Nations members — but none of the major Western powers have done so.

The move could put more pressure continental heavyweights France and Germany to reconsider their position.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz has ordered Israel’s ambassadors from Ireland and Norway to immediately return to Israel.

The announcements are unlikely to have any impact on the ground. Israel annexed east Jerusalem and considers it part of its capital, and in the occupied West Bank it has build scores of Jewish settlements that are now home to over 500,000 Israelis.

The settlers have Israeli citizenship, while the 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank live under seemingly open-ended Israeli military rule.

Israel and the United States were already dealing with fallout after chief prosecutor of the world’s top war crimes court requested arrest warrants for leaders of both Israel and Hamas.

Among the prosecutor’s allegations against Israel was using “starvation as a method of warfare.” Israeli and U.S. leaders harshly condemned the accusations.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has escalated over the past two weeks since Israel launched an incursion into Rafah that closed a vital border crossing, vowing to root out Hamas fighters.

The fighting sent hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fleeing out of Rafah, many of whom were displaced earlier in the Israel-Hamas war.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed about 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

The Israeli military campaign in Gaza has killed at least 35,000 Palestinians, many of them women and children, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Around 80% of the population of 2.3 million Palestinians has been displaced within the territory, often multiple times.

By Joy

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