With these latest recognitions, 147 countries now formally recognize the nation’s statehood out of the 193 UN member states.

Norway, Spain, and Ireland have formally recognized Palestine as a state.

Recognition of the State of Palestine is not only a matter of historical justice. It is also an essential requirement if we are all to achieve peace,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Tuesday before meeting his cabinet.


The three European countries believe their initiative has a strong symbolic impact, likely encouraging others to follow suit.

Norway, Spain, Ireland Formally Recognize Palestine As A State
Top diplomats of Ireland, Spain and Norway hold a joint press conference at the Permanent Representation of Spain to the European Union in Brussels on May 27, 2024. Photo: Reuters

The move, he said, was “not against anyone, least of all Israel.”

“It is the only way to move towards the solution that we all recognize as the only possible way to achieve a peaceful future that of a Palestinian state living side-by-side with the state of Israel in peace and security.”

Sanchez also said the decision reflected Spain’s “outright rejection of Hamas, which is against the two-state solution” and whose October 7 attacks led to the Gaza war.

The plans were unveiled last week in a coordinated announcement by the prime ministers of the three countries.

Both the Spanish and Irish cabinets were meeting to formally approve the step on Tuesday morning, while Norway informed Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa its recognition would also take effect the same day.

Norway, Spain, Ireland Formally Recognize Palestine As A State
A boy waves a Palestinian flag in Barcelona, Spain, on January 20, 2024, at a protest in support of Palestinians and an immediate ceasefire in Gaza [Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo]

Entering the cabinet meeting, Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said it was “an important moment”.

He said it sent “a signal to the world that there are practical actions you can take as a country to help keep the hope of a two-state solution alive”.

Norway, Spain, Ireland Formally Recognize Palestine As A State
A Spanish fighting bull billboard, is painted with the colors of the Palestinian flag and a writing that reads “free Palestine”, on the outskirts of Madrid, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Diplomatic tensions

The decision has provoked a furious response from Israel and further exacerbated diplomatic tensions, notably with Spain.

Last week, Sanchez’s far-left deputy, Yolanda Diaz, hailed the move, saying: “We cannot stop. Palestine will be free from the river to the sea”, which Israel’s Madrid envoy denounced as a “clear call for the elimination of Israel”.

The slogan refers to the British mandate borders of Palestine, which stretched from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean before Israel was created in 1948.

Recognizing Palestinian statehood has also provoked sharp disagreement within the 27-nation European Union.

Washington and most Western European nations have said they are willing to one day recognize Palestinian statehood, but not before agreement on thorny issues like the status of Jerusalem and final borders.

The Gaza bloodshed has revived calls for Palestinians to be given their own state.