Spain recognizes Palestinian state with capital in eastern Jerusalem

‘This decision reflects our absolute rejection of Hamas, a terrorist organization who is against the two-state solution,’ said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

By Troy Osher Fritzhand, JNS

Spain on Tuesday officially recognized a “State of Palestine” within the 1967 lines, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital and including the Gaza Strip.

“With this decision, Spain joins the more than 140 countries that already recognize Palestine,” said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez at an event marking the announcement.

“This is a historic decision, that has a single goal: To contribute to achieving peace between Israelis and [Palestinians],” he said.

Spain’s recognition was a matter not only of “historical justice,” but also “an imperative need to achieve peace,” he continued.

“It is the only way to realize the solution that we all recognize as the only possible one to achieve a future of peace. That of a [Palestinian] state that coexists alongside the State of Israel, in peace and security,” he said.

For the Palestinian state to be viable, he continued, Judea, Samaria and Gaza Strip must be connected via a corridor, eastern Jerusalem must be its capital and it must be unified under the “legitimate government” of the Palestinian Authority.

The move, he added, was not against Israel but against Hamas.

“This decision reflects our absolute rejection of Hamas, a terrorist organization who is against the two-state solution,” he said.

Immediately following the speech, Foreign Minister Israel Katz posted a photo on X showing the Israeli and Spanish flags intertwined, writing in Spanish, “The Israeli people and the Spanish people are friendly people. We will not allow you…[or] the members of your government to separate us.”

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Katz accused Sánchez in a separate post of being complicit in murder and war crimes against Jews.

“Khamenei @khamenei_ir, Sinwar and Deputy Prime Minister of Spain @Yolanda_Diaz_ call for the elimination of the State of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian Islamic terrorist state from the river to the sea. Prime Minister Sanchez @sanchezcastejon, when you do not fire your deputy and announce the recognition of a Palestinian state—you are complicit in inciting murder of the Jewish people and war crimes,” he tweeted.

The back and forth between the two countries has been constant since Madrid last week announced its intention to recognize a Palestinian state, along with Norway and Ireland.

On Sunday, Katz tagged President Sánchez on X in a video with traditional Spanish music in the background alongside videos of Hamas’s brutality on Oct. 7. He wrote, “@sanchezcastejon, Hamas thanks you for your service.”

Katz also said that the decision was “a gold medal to Hamas terrorists who kidnapped our daughters and burned infants.”

In response, Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares called the video “scandalous and disgusting,” adding, “we will not fall for these provocations.”

Katz then followed up on Monday by sending a letter to Spanish authorities forbidding their country’s consulate in Jerusalem from providing services to residents of the Palestinian Authority.

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“As of 1 June 2024, the Consulate General of Spain in Jerusalem may provide consular services strictly to residents of the consular district of Jerusalem,” the letter states.

“The Consulate General, or anyone on its behalf, may not provide services to residents of the Palestinian Authority, nor may it perform any consular or other functions outside the district of Jerusalem, without prior written consent from the Ministry.”

The policy does not apply to consular services for Spanish citizens in Judea and Samaria.

“If this policy is not respected, the Ministry will not hesitate to take further actions,” the letter added.

Norway and Ireland are set to also officially recognize a Palestinian state on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Norway’s foreign minister met with the Palestinian Authority prime minister in Brussels, where he handed over diplomatic papers affirming this.

“Recognition means a lot to us. It is the most important thing that anybody can do for the Palestinian people. It is a great deal for us,” P.A. Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa told Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said on Sunday that, “There cannot be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition. The terror has been committed by Hamas and militant groups who are not supporters of a two-state solution and the State of Israel.”

Read  Israeli airstrike kills two senior Hamas terrorists in Rafah

Ireland, a constant critic of Israel, said on Monday that the European Union could also seek sanctions against Israel.

“For the first time at an E.U. meeting, in a real way, I’ve seen significant discussion on sanctions and ‘what if,’” said Ireland’s Foreign Minister Micheál Martin.

However, he continued, there is “some distance between people articulating the need for a sanctions-based approach if Israel does not comply with the ICJ’s ruling…to agreement in the Council meeting, given all of the different perspectives there.”

International humanitarian law and human rights “is the raison d’etre of the European Union, and events now are really putting that issue into sharp focus, particularly given the attack last night when so many innocent people were killed,” said Martin.

On Sunday night, an Israeli strike on two senior Hamas terrorists near Rafah resulted in the deaths of tens of Palestinian civilians. According to ABC News, Israel told U.S. officials the incident was apparently caused by missile shrapnel igniting a fuel tank some 330 feet from the targeted area.

The targets of the strike were named as Yassin Rabia, head of Hamas’s Judea and Samaria headquarters, and Khaled Nagar, a senior official in the terrorist group’s Judea and Samaria wing.

The IDF spokesperson said earlier that the strike, based on intelligence and executed using precision weaponry, was carried out in accordance with international law.