Palestinian minister praises European countries' state recognition, urges others to follow suit

Palestinian minister praises European countries' state recognition, urges others to follow suit
Maged Abu Ramadan also went on to urge other European countries to follow in the steps of Norway, Spain and Ireland, who recognised Palestine's statehood.
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Maged Abu Ramadan called Norway, Spain and Ireland's decision to recognise Palestine as 'courageous' [Getty/file photo]

The move by Spain, Ireland and Norway to recognise a Palestinian state will give a major boost to the cause, the Palestinian Authority's health minister said on Wednesday, urging other European countries to follow suit.

Maged Abu Ramadan thanked the three countries, their people and their governments for their "courageous decision", saying it would have a "great political, positive input on the case of Palestine, wherever it will be discussed".

The minister was in Geneva for the World Health Assembly, where the dire humanitarian and health conditions in the Gaza Strip were being discussed on Wednesday.

The assembly is the World Health Organization's main annual meeting, which sets the agenda for the UN health agency.

"I will urge all other European countries to follow these courageous steps," Abu Ramadan told the United Nations Correspondents Association.

"It helps not only defend the Palestinians, but also the whole world, because it says there is still hope, and we should stick to it."

A former Gaza City mayor, Abu Ramadan called for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza war, which has killed at least 36,171 Palestinians since October 7.

Israel's military campaign and siege have rendered much of the enclave unhabitable, while its atrocities have been labelled as genocide by several world leaders.

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As for the closed Rafah crossing from Egypt into the besieged Palestinian territory, Abu Ramadan said he expected the international community, and especially the United States, "to press hard in order to open that".

The crossing, through which much of the aid entering the coastal strip came, was closed by the Israeli armed forces on May 7.

"We have no indication that the Israelis would like it to open any (time) soon," the minister said.

"However, it's very necessary for the supplies and for the teams and other equipment - and so far, that complicates the situation and makes it really very, very catastrophic."

He also regretted that tonnes of food had perished in hot trucks while waiting to get into the Gaza Strip because of the Israeli authorities' painstaking checkpoint process.