Norway will recognize Palestine as a state. Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre announced this on Wednesday morning in Oslo. The recognition should therefore take place on May 28th. According to media reports, Ireland, Spain and other European countries also wanted to announce the recognition of Palestine on Wednesday.

“Palestinians have a fundamental, independent right to their own state. Both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in peace in separate states. There can be no peace in the Middle East without a two-state solution,” said a press release Norwegian government. An Irish government spokesman announced the move was intended to keep the option of a two-state solution alive.

Sweden recognized Palestine as a state ten years ago. However, critics complain that the Palestinian territories lack important criteria for such a step. For example, the border between Israel and the Palestinians remains controversial. This also applies to the political status of East Jerusalem.

Israel strictly rejects recognizing Palestine. “By pushing for a Palestinian state, you are telling murderers and rapists that terror pays,” Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan said recently as the UN General Assembly strengthened Palestine’s status. The Palestinian Authority does not meet the criteria for statehood.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry published a video message on the online service X warning the Irish government against such action. Recognizing a “Palestinian state runs the risk of turning you into a pawn in the hands of Iran” and the radical Islamic Palestinian organization Hamas, it said. The move does nothing other than “feed extremism and instability.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez says he wants to inform parliament on Wednesday of a date for Spain’s recognition of a Palestinian state. Spain has long been one of the harshest critics in Europe of Israel’s military actions in the Gaza Strip. The left-wing government suspended all arms exports to Israel in October. The recognition is right because “it is in Europe’s geopolitical interest and because the international community cannot help the Palestinian state if it does not recognize it,” Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said.

In March, he signed a joint declaration in Brussels with the heads of government of Ireland, Slovenia and Malta, in which the four EU countries expressed their willingness to recognize an independent Palestinian state. In April, Sánchez traveled to Norway and Ireland. The three countries assured that they would coordinate closely on the recognition.

Israel sees such a move as a “reward for terrorism,” which makes a negotiated solution to the Gaza war less likely.

The war in the Gaza Strip was triggered by the major attack on Israel on October 7th by the Islamist Palestinian organization Hamas, which is classified as a terrorist organization by the EU and the USA. According to Israeli figures, the radical Islamic fighters killed more than 1,170 people. 252 more people were kidnapped as hostages in the Gaza Strip. 124 of them are still there, 37 of whom are dead, according to the army.

In response, Israel has since taken massive military action in the Gaza Strip. According to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, which cannot be independently verified, more than 35,600 people were killed.

Note: This post has been updated.