". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Three European Nations Recognize a Palestinian State

May 29, 2024

In a coordinated effort “to add international pressure on Israel,” as even the Associated Press admitted, three European nations formally recognized a state of Palestine on Tuesday. The complementary declarations by Norway, Ireland, and Spain are “a rather alarming development,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said on “This Week on the Hill,” which will only encourage Hamas and other anti-Semitic groups to further acts of terrorism.

Formally recognizing a state of Palestine is a messaging decision by these three governments rather than the initiation of a diplomatic relationship. While 140 countries have recognized a Palestinian state, only seven EU countries have done so, and Sweden (which recognized a Palestinian state during a previous Gaza war in 2014) was previously the only country in northern or western Europe to do so.

The problem is, “there is no state of Palestine, and we cannot simply recognize a state that does not exist,” protested Rep. Nathaniel Moran (R-Texas) on “Washington Watch” Tuesday.

Recognizing a non-existent state of Palestine is so absurd that the only reason a government would do so is to stick their finger in Israel’s eye. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez protested that the decision was not “against anyone, least of all against Israel.” But Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris tipped his hand by calling the present moment Palestine’s “darkest hour” (darker than when Hamas seized power in a bloody coup?), and insisted, “It is no longer enough just to condemn. It is no longer enough just to be repulsed. We must be on the right side of history.” His speech all but accused Israel of genocide.

The move “ultimately just applies pressure to Israel,” Family Research Council Action President Jody Hice declared. Palestine has “no leaders or no geographic location. There [are] no laws. … It totally does not exist, and yet they’re recognizing it. It just seems so upside down.”

It’s not entirely clear that these three European governments have fully thought through the implications of their declaration. “There’s a number of questions that immediately come to mind,” Johnson stated. “First, what is the Palestinian state? No one could define what the borders would be.” Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman concurred on “This Week on the Hill,” noting, “Normally, [when] you recognize the state, there are borders, there’s a government.”

Moran agreed. “When you simply ask questions like, ‘Well, who’s in charge?’ Well, those questions can’t be answered. Is it Hamas? Is it the Palestinian Authority [PA]? Is it the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization]?”

That’s a hard question to answer. Hamas is a terrorist organization. The Palestinian Authority is so unpopular, incompetent, and corrupt that President Biden publicly acknowledged it was incapable of governing an independent state that could coexist side-by-side with Israel. In fact, since December, President Biden has been pressuring Israel to “strengthen,” “change,” and “move” the PA as if somehow it’s Israel’s responsibility to reform a group over which they have no control. As for the PLO, that’s just a dysfunctional collection of all the other bad options.

Given the obvious moral outrage of granting a state to Hamas, Spain, Ireland, and Norway have instead opted to back the PA. Ireland and Norway plan to open embassies in the West Bank, while Spanish Prime Minister Sánchez endorsed a PA-controlled Palestinian state that connected the West Bank and Gaza Strip via a corridor (thus dividing Israeli territory in two). But this is far from a workable and reasonable solution.

“The Palestinian Authority has a pension program which pays stipends to terrorists to kill Jews,” explained Friedman. “The more Jews you kill (the worse the crime), the more money you get.” And “those are the ‘good guys,’ according to the calculus of the Palestinian hierarchy. A Palestinian state is anathema to the continued existence of the state of Israel. It will destroy Israel. It will be a final solution to the Jewish people.”

“Who’s going to run it?” is also the biggest question on the mind of Friedman. “If [the European states] were forced to answer, they’d have to admit that the people — doesn’t matter what side, doesn’t matter whether it’s Hamas, whether it’s the Palestinian Authority, Fatah, any of the other groups — they’re all terrorists. They’re all people with blood on their hands.”

The diplomatic recognition of Norway, Ireland, and Spain “really sets the stage for the unworkable two-state solution,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said. This solution is unworkable because no possible Palestinian state would peaceably coexist with Israel. “A Palestinian state will become a terror platform for a repeat of October 7th over and over again,” Friedman declared.

No one knows this better than the Israelis themselves. “Recognizing a Palestinian state will lead to more terrorism, instability in the region, and jeopardize any prospects for peace. Don’t be a pawn in the hands of Hamas,” warned the Israel foreign ministry. “Prime Minister Netanyahu said publicly yesterday that [a Palestinian state] would be a reward for terrorism,” Johnson said Friday. “And I think he’s exactly right. You can’t reward the very parties who attacked Israel [and] mercilessly took out 1,200 Israelis in a brutal, vicious, unprovoked attack on October 7th.”

The European nations again tried to deflect blame. “This decision reflects our absolute rejection of Hamas,” Sánchez asserted. But their words don’t match their actions. These nations have essentially told Hamas and their allies, “Okay, yeah, you’re terrorists, and you have behaved in a way that is unbecoming of any morality in this world. But we’re going to recognize your group … with statehood,” Moran declared. Such a decision will leave terror groups “emboldened” because it “actually supports their mission,” he said.

A two-state solution is not the only option for peace in the Middle East (in fact, it would escalate the war). The truth is, Israel is “the only democracy in the Middle East, the only ‘functioning economy’ in government in the Middle East,” explained Freidman. If Israel would “take responsibility for the entirety of Judea and Samaria,” then, “from a security perspective, from an economic perspective, from a quality-of-life perspective, it [would] dramatically improve the lives of all the inhabitants of Judea and Samaria … Jewish and Arab alike.” Arabs already comprise 21% of Israel’s population, where they enjoy basic human rights protections, are able to vote, and even hold seats in the Knesset. Not only would Israeli governance create more human flourishing in Judea and Samaria, Friedman argued, it would also secure “Israel’s biblical homeland … within the jurisdiction of the state of Israel, so these places will remain forever so they can be visited and enjoyed.”

Instead of that, global elites from the Biden administration to the U.N. continue to push for — and even recognize — a Palestinian state, despite the absence of a credible, legitimate Palestinian body capable of governing.

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.