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House Democrat blasts Ireland, Spain, Norway recognition of Palestinian state as ‘gift to Hamas’

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Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., on Wednesday blasted Ireland, Spain and Norway’s decision to recognize Palestinian statehood, arguing the move sent a ‘message to terrorists’ that ‘abhorrent tactics work.’ 

‘I’ve long advocated for Palestinian self-determination and statehood, and will continue to do so,’ Phillips, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote on X.  

‘But Spain, Norway, and Ireland’s premature recognition of a state is a gift to Hamas and a message to terrorists around the world that abhorrent tactics work,’ he said. ‘Shameful.’ 

Notably, Hamas celebrated Ireland, Spain and Norway’s decision as a significant ‘turning point,’ according to a statement shared on X by the Palestinian news agency Quds News Network. 

‘Hamas welcomes the announcement of Norway, Ireland, and Spain recognizing the state of Palestine, considering it an important step towards solidifying our right to our land and establishing our independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem,’ the statement said. ‘We call on countries around the world to recognize our legitimate national rights and to support our people’s struggle for liberation, independence, and an end to Zionist occupation of our land.’ 

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris – who took office just last month following Leo Eric Varadkar’s sudden resignation – announced at a press conference on Wednesday that Ireland, Norway and Spain will ‘recognize the state of Palestine’ on May 28 and ‘each of us will now undertake whatever national steps are necessary to give effect to that decision.’ 

‘I’m confident that further countries will join us in taking this important step in the coming weeks,’ he said. ‘This is a historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine.’ 

On Jan. 22, 1919, ‘Ireland asked the world to recognize our right to be an independent state,’ Harris said. ‘Our message to the free nations of the world was a plea for international recognition of our independence, emphasizing our distinct national identity, our historical struggle and our right to self-determination and justice. Today we use the same language to support the recognition of Palestine as a state. We do because we believe in freedom and justice as these fundamental principles of international law. And because we believe that permanent peace can only be secured upon the basis of the free will of a free people.’ 

Harris also released a video message defending the decision.

‘Children are innocent. The children of Israel, the children of Palestine, they deserve peace,’ he began. ‘It is long past time for a cease-fire, for the unconditional release of hostages, for unhindered access for humanitarian aid. There should be no further military incursion into Rafah. There should be no more Hamas or Hezbollah rockets fired at Israel.’

Harris said ‘civilians on all sides must be protected under international humanitarian law.’ 

‘Today’s decision to recognize Palestine is taken to help create a peaceful future. Because a two-state solution is the only way out of the generational cycles of violence, retaliation, resentment, hatred where so many wrongs can never make a right,’ video message continued. ‘Just as Ireland’s recognition as a state eventually led to the establishment of our now peaceful Republic, we believe that Palestinian statehood will contribute to peace and to reconciliation in the Middle East. A peace that honors the legitimate aspirations of all people in the region to live with respect, justice, security and dignity free from violence or the threat of violence.’ 

Social media users blasted Harris’ announcement, noting how Emily Hand, a 9-year-old Irish-Israeli girl was kidnapped on Oct. 7 and held hostage by Hamas terrorists for about 50 days. 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez also announced the decision before parliament on Wednesday. 

‘This recognition is not against anyone, it is not against the Israeli people,’ he said. ‘It is an act in favor of peace, justice and moral consistency.’

Other users on X slammed Sánchez for recognizing a Palestinian state, but not granting Catalonia’s independence. 

Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide told The Associated Press that while the country has supported the establishment of a Palestinian state for decades, recognition is ‘a card that you can play once.’

‘We used to think that recognition would come at the end of a process,’ he said. ‘Now we have realized that recognition should come as an impetus, as a strengthening of a process.’

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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