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Israel furious after recognition of the State of Palestine by European countries

Photo: Oren Ben Hakoon Agence France-Presse Recognition of the State of Palestine is “a reward for terrorism,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pictured above in the Knesset in Jerusalem on May 20.

Delphine Matthieussent – Agence France-Presse and Chloé Rouveyrolles – Liberation in Jerusalem

Posted at 6:23 p.m.

  • Middle East

Israel let its anger explode on Wednesday after the decision of three European countries to recognize the State of Palestine, in the midst of war between its army and Palestinian Hamas in the besieged and devastated Gaza Strip.

The creation of a viable Palestinian state appears to be a very uncertain prospect due to Israel's refusal to hear about it and the Jewish colonization which is dividing up the territories on which the Palestinians aim to establish it.

But the recognition, announced by Spain, Ireland and Norway, is seen as an important diplomatic victory for Palestinian leaders in their quest to end 57 years of Israeli occupation.

And it represents a new setback for Israel after International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan requested arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “crimes against humanity” alleged, at the same time as against the leaders of Hamas, in the context of the war.

“Israel will not remain silent on this issue” of recognition, thundered the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Israel Katz, announcing the summons of the ambassadors of Spain, Ireland and Norway, and the recall for consultations of the Israeli ambassadors in these three countries.

“Reward for terrorism”

Recognition of the State of Palestine is “a reward for terrorism,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a fierce opponent of the idea of ​​such a state living alongside Israel. “To this Evil we cannot give a State. »

The three European states announced their decision as the war rages between Israel and Hamas since an unprecedented attack launched on October 7, 2023 by commandos of the movement Palestinian Islamist infiltrators from the neighboring Gaza Strip into southern Israel.

The attack resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data. Of the 252 people taken as hostages on October 7, 124 are still being held in Gaza, including 37 dead, according to the army.

In response, Mr. Netanyahu vowed to annihilate Hamas, with its army launching a devastating offensive in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the European Union and the United States, took power in 2007.

At least 35,709 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died in this offensive, including 62 in the last 24 hours, according to data from the Palestinian Territory Government's Health Ministry led by Hamas.

The families of five Israeli soldiers held hostage in Gaza on Wednesday authorized the release of footage showing the moment of their capture during the October 7 attack. We can see these young women, some with bloody faces, sitting on the ground, their hands tied behind their backs.

“Empty shells”

“After the terrorist organization Hamas carried out the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, after committing the most horrific sexual crimes the world has known, these countries chose to reward Hamas […] and to recognize a Palestinian state,” said Mr. Katz.

In the opposing camp, Hamas welcomed this recognition as a “milestone” and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) spoke of “historic moments.” Arab countries also welcomed it.

But in Rafah, a town in the south of the Gaza Strip subject to daily Israeli bombardments, Ahmed Ziad, 35, denounces “empty shells if America and other European countries […] do not support” such recognition.

Israel's main supporter, US President Joe Biden, a supporter of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nevertheless said that a “state Palestinian peace must come about through direct negotiations between the parties, not through unilateral recognition.”

“The President is a strong supporter of a two-state solution and has been for his entire career,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in response to the three European countries’ decision to recognize the State of Palestine.

“This is a principled position that we have consistently affirmed,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan then commented. “Each country is free to make its own decisions” in this matter, he also added.

The head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell , said he wished to work towards “a common position” of the Twenty-Seven, after the recognition of the State of Palestine by two EU member states, Spain and Ireland.

According to a count by the Palestinian Authority, the State of Palestine is recognized by 142 of the 193 member states of the UN.

The decision of the three European countries “is certainly not the great victory that it claims to be,” said Inès Abdel Razek, director of the Palestinian Institute for Public Democracy. For her, the two-state solution fizzled.

Raids in Jabalia and Rafah

In the Gaza Strip, where more than half of the 2.4 million inhabitants have been displaced by the war, Israeli bombings and clashes between the army and Hamas have not stopped.

Airstrikes continued to target Rafah as well as the areas of Jabalia, Zeitoun and Gaza City in the north of the territory.

The army reported “targeted raids against Hamas military sites in Jabalia”, the destruction of numerous weapons, and the death of “eight terrorists in a strike against an arms depot”.

Soldiers continue under air cover their ground operations “against Hamas targets” in areas of Rafah, where the army has said it wants to destroy the last battalions of Hamas, its network of tunnels, and save the hostages.

Israeli tanks entered eastern Rafah on May 7 and took control of the eponymous crossing point with Egypt, the main entrance for humanitarian aid, on the Palestinian side, before closing it.

Since then, the delivery of aid has virtually stopped while according to the UN 1.1 million Palestinians in Gaza face “catastrophic levels of hunger”.

The army announced the death of three soldiers in Gaza, bringing to 287 the toll of its soldiers killed since Israeli troops entered the Palestinian territory on October 27.

The White House considers the Israeli offensive in Rafah “more targeted and limited”

The White House judged on Wednesday that the Israeli military operation in Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip was “more targeted and limited” from now on, but said it remained attentive to the fate of civilians.

“I have been briefed by Israeli officials on the adjustments Israel has made to achieve its military objectives taking into account harm to civilians,” said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who visited Israel last weekend.

US President Joe Biden has publicly stated his opposition to a large-scale ground offensive in Rafah where more than a million civilians are trapped, and has threatened to halt certain arms deliveries to Israel if his warning was not heeded.

“What we see so far in terms of Israeli military operations in this area is more targeted and limited,” he declared during a press conference, indicating that he had not seen any “operations major military operations in the heart of densely populated urban areas”.

The current military operation in Rafah “aims above all to take control of the border area, or at least portions of the border between Egypt and Gaza, to eliminate the tunnels used for contraband,” declared the head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken during a hearing in Congress.

Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116