Norway, Ireland, Spain to recognise Palestinian state

May 22 ( Al Jazeera) - The leaders of Norway, Ireland and Spain have said their countries will formally recognise Palestine as a state for the sake of “peace in the Middle East“.

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said on Wednesday that a two-state solution was in Israel’s best interest, adding that the recognition would come as of May 28.

“There cannot be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition,” he said.

Shortly after Norway’s announcement, Ireland’s Prime Minister Simon Harris said his country would also recognise a Palestinian state.

“Today, Ireland, Norway, and Spain are announcing that we recognise the state of Palestine,” Harris said at a news conference. “Each of us will now undertake whatever national steps are necessary to give effect to that decision.”

“I’m confident that further countries will join us in taking this important step in the coming weeks,” he added.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday that the country’s council of ministers would also recognise an independent Palestinian state on May 28.

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

“Ireland and Norway intend to send a message today to the Palestinians and the whole world: terrorism pays,” Katz said.

Israel has said recognition from the European nations will “fuel extremism and instability” and make them a “pawn in the hands of Hamas”.

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