Recognising Palestinian statehood 'essential for reaching peace': Sanchez

Recognising Palestinian statehood 'essential for reaching peace': Sanchez
Spain's prime minister said his country's move to recognise a Palestinian state was necessary to achieve peace in the region.
2 min read
Sanchez insisted that the move also demonstrated Spain's rejection of Hamas [Getty]

Recognising Palestinian statehood is an "essential" step for achieving peace in the Middle East, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Tuesday, with his government poised to formally take the step alongside Ireland and Norway.

"Recognition of the state of Palestine is not only a matter of historic justice... is it also an essential requirement if we are all to achieve peace," he said in a brief address before meeting his cabinet, insisting it was "not against anyone, least of all Israel".

Israel has slammed the announced move as a "reward" for the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement that rules Gaza.

"It is the only way to move towards the solution that we all recognise 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," said Sanchez.

He insisted that the move also demonstrated Spain's rejection of Hamas, which does not accept Israel's right to exist and whose unprecedented attacks on October 7 sparked the Gaza war.

"This decision also reflects our outright rejection of Hamas, which is against the two-state solution," he said.

Spain, Ireland and Norway on Tuesday will all formally recognise a Palestinian state in a decision slammed by Israel as a "reward" for Hamas, more than seven months into the devastating Gaza war.

The three nations believe their initiative has strong symbolic impact that would likely encourage others to follow suit.

The Gaza war was sparked by a Hamas-led attack in southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of around 1,170 people, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures. Around 250 people were also taken hostage, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, Israel says.

Hamas says the attack came in response to decades of Israeli occupation and aggression against the Palestinian people, including the siege of Gaza.

Since then, Israel's blistering military offensive has killed more than 36,000 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the territory's health ministry.