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Spain to recognize Palestinian state by July, says its prime minister

Pedro Sánchez said there would soon be a "critical mass" within the European Union to push several member states to adopt the position.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain (left), Israeli President Isaac Herzog (center) and Prime Minister Alexander De Croo of Belgium, Nov. 23, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain (left), Israeli President Isaac Herzog (center) and Prime Minister Alexander De Croo of Belgium, Nov. 23, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said his country will recognize Palestinian statehood by July.

He made his remarks to journalists on Monday while visiting Jordan’s capital during the first day of a Middle East tour, which will also take him to Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Sánchez tied the decision to events expected to unfold in the Gaza war ahead of European Parliament elections in early June.

There will soon be a “critical mass” within the European Union to push several member states to adopt the position, he said.

At a European Council meeting on March 22, Sánchez sided with the leaders of Ireland, Malta and Slovenia calling to “take the first steps” towards recognizing Palestinian statehood in Judea and Samara, commonly known as the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

Israel condemned those calls, saying recognition would be a prize for those who carried out barbaric acts on Oct. 7.

“The comments of the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, about recognizing a Palestinian state, as well as the joint statement by Spain, Malta, Slovenia and Ireland about their readiness to recognize a Palestinian state, constitute a reward for terrorism,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat tweeted on March 25.

Similarly, Gilad Erdan, Israel’s U.N. ambassador, condemned those who would support the Palestinian Authority’s effort to press the United Nations to vote it into the world body as a full member. (Currently, it holds the status of an “observer state.”)

“Whoever supports recognizing a Palestinian state at such a time not only gives a prize to terror but also backs unilateral steps which are contradictory to the agreed upon principle of direct negotiations,” Erdan said on Monday.

Riyad Mansour, the PLO’s representative at the United Nations said on Monday, “The intention is to put the application to a vote in the Security Council this month,” citing a scheduled April 18 U.N. Security Council meeting on the Middle East as a suitable date to make the decision.

Since 1988, 139 out of 193 U.N. member states have recognized Palestinian statehood.

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