850 גג

Now that European countries have recognized a Palestinian state, what comes next?

Analysis: While some in Israel believe the country is slowly becoming isolated following the recognition of a Palestinian state by significant European countries, others say the impact isn't as serious as some would think

How did Israel arrive at a situation in which three significant European countries – Spain, Ireland, and Norwayrecognize a Palestinian state only a few months after the October 7 massacre? As Foreign Minister Israel Katz put it, they’re "rewarding Hamas’ despicable rapists and murderers."
Some in Israel believe this represents a resounding diplomatic defeat and a collapse of Israel's diplomatic deterrence. According to these political sources, before October 7 these countries would have hesitated to take such a step and risk a severe diplomatic crisis with Israel.
4 View gallery
פדרו סנצ'ס, יונס גר סטיורה, סיימון האריס
פדרו סנצ'ס, יונס גר סטיורה, סיימון האריס
Simon Harris, Jonas Gahr Store, Pedro Sanchez
(Photo: EPA/ENRIC FONTCUBERTA, Julien Behal/Pool/ REUTERS, NTB/Erik Flaaris Johansen/ REUTERS)
They argue that the step is a reflection of an unprecedented diplomatic low seen under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who presented himself as a great leader. They claim that, today, countries around the world sense Israel’s weakness and see it as more isolated than ever and losing the backing of the United States.
European Union (EU) Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said early in May that Ireland, Spain and other EU countries are set to recognize a Palestinian state. In other words, the writing was on the wall for a long time, and these countries had been signaling that this was their direction for a while. Why didn't Israel act behind the scenes to prevent this? Where were the prime minister and foreign minister? It's possible that Israel understood this was already a lost cause.
The Foreign Ministry has been continuously working with the three countries’ governments and influential figures. However, as a diplomatic source said: "They rushed forward mindlessly. It wasn't the desire to promote peace that drove them but other considerations."
Now, Israel is pressuring Belgium, Slovenia, and Malta – marked as the next countries that might recognize a Palestinian state – to not follow through. However, Israel admits that the chances of stopping this aren’t high. "It couldn't have been prevented," said a source in Jerusalem.
4 View gallery
איורים אנטי-ישראליים בבלפסט
איורים אנטי-ישראליים בבלפסט
Anti-Israel graffiti in Ireland
(Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
On the other hand, a high-ranking Israeli official said: "This isn’t a defeat. This struggle has been ongoing since 1967. Most of the world's countries have expressed support for a Palestinian state. The vast majority of the world's countries have been trying to promote this in UN institutions for decades.
“Even the U.S., which blocks this move in the UN Security Council, is committed to the idea of a two-state solution. Israel may be relatively isolated in its stance, but it is united and steadfast in rejecting the idea of imposing a terrorist state in the heart of its country. No external decision will change this, as 99 Knesset members decided only a few months ago."
Alongside those who see this as a severe blow to Israel, some political sources think the situation isn’t so dire and recall that before Norway, Spain and Ireland, 144 countries, mostly from the former Soviet bloc and non-aligned countries, recognized a Palestinian state, with Sweden and Iceland being the only two Western countries among them. The sources noted that the U.S., UK, Germany, and most EU countries still don’t recognize a Palestinian state – and that’s what’s important.
They also argue that Spain, Ireland and Norway are governed by socialist left-wing parties that had previously criticized Israel. "It's unpleasant but not terrible. It’s a small blow. Their recognition won't bring about the establishment of a de facto Palestinian state or advance the Palestinians toward an independent state. On the other hand, it doesn't really harm Israel. So, we need to put this in perspective," an Israeli diplomat said.
4 View gallery
Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: Reuters)
"This isn’t a diplomatic downfall. It's not surprising. One could say it's a predictable crash," the diplomat said. "Who are we talking about here? Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is talking to his voter base and doing internal politics, and the same goes for Norway. These countries wanted to promote this in the past. They planned it in advance."
Israel is mulling its response. Should the country take extreme measures like downgrading diplomatic relations, permanently recalling ambassadors, and even closing embassies, as is being considered with Ireland? Another step being considered is the revocation of visas for European diplomats serving in the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Israel Katz summoned the ambassadors of these countries for a reprimand at the Foreign Ministry. "Ireland, if your goal was to reward terrorism by declaring support for a Palestinian state, you’ve achieved it. Simon Harris, Hamas thanks you for your service," Katz wrote on his X account.
Israel anticipates more countries, such as Malta, Slovenia and Belgium, will soon follow suit. In fact, Belgium was set to join Spain, Ireland,and Norway’s announcement but decided to postpone the decision after a local cabinet meeting.
4 View gallery
פגישת ישראל כ"ץ עם סטפן סז'ורנה
פגישת ישראל כ"ץ עם סטפן סז'ורנה
Israel Katz and French FM Stéphane Séjourné
(Photo: Shlomi Amsalem, GPO)
Many European countries opposed the decision to recognize a Palestinian state, claiming it was a hasty step and a mistake. The French foreign minister said this wasn’t the time for recognition, and the Swedish prime minister joined him, saying the recognition is meaningless and a serious process is needed to reach a two-state solution.
Denmark also announced it wouldn’t join the recognition and disagreed with the move. The Austrian foreign minister said that recognition should be part of a political process and that recognition at this stage is a gesture that won’t change anything for the Palestinians.
The Czech Republic’s prime minister announced that his country doesn’t intend to recognize a Palestinian state and that the goal of the two states will only be achieved through negotiations and mutual recognition.
<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram >>
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.