May 31, 2024 | Flash Brief

Slovenia Latest EU Member State to Push Recognition of Palestinian State

May 31, 2024 | Flash Brief

Slovenia Latest EU Member State to Push Recognition of Palestinian State

Latest Developments

Israel lambasted Slovenia on May 31 after the former Yugoslav republic’s government formally requested its parliament to unilaterally recognize an independent Palestinian state. Responding to the announcement, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that the decision by Slovenia, a European Union (EU) member state, “rewards Hamas for murder, rape, mutilation of bodies, beheading of babies, and strengthens the Iranian axis of evil while damaging the close friendship between the Slovene and Israeli people.” Katz urged the Slovene parliament to reject the federal government’s recognition proposal, which is expected to be voted on in the coming days.

Slovene Prime Minister Robert Golob insisted that his government’s move was “not directed against anyone, not even Israel, but it is a message of peace.” As the Palestinian flag was raised outside of the government’s headquarters in the capital city of Ljubljana, Golob argued that recognition of an independent Palestine alongside the State of Israel was the “way to achieve peace.”

Expert Analysis

“Slovenia has joined fellow EU members Spain and Ireland in giving succor to the rapists and killers of Hamas by effectively rewarding them for the atrocities of October 7. Most EU states continue to assert that recognition of an independent Palestinian state is a goal to be achieved by negotiation, not by placing the cart before the horse. If national governments and the EU executive in Brussels are serious about a peaceful solution, then this diplomatic posturing must end.” — Ben CohenFDD Senior Analyst and Rapid Response Manager

“European governments, like Slovenia, have a long history of appeasement, which hasn’t worked in the past, and appeasement won’t work now by granting Hamas a Palestinian state. Whoever believes that recognizing Palestine is going to stop Hamas from committing more crimes — like the October 7 atrocities in Israel — is sorely mistaken. Instead, European capitals should strengthen transatlantic relations by speaking in the same voice as the United States and Israel, given the shared security threats from Iranian-sponsored terrorist groups like Hamas.” —Ivana Stradner, FDD Research Fellow

EU Still Divided Over Palestinian Statehood Recognition

Slovenia — currently serving as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council — has been lobbying for the recognition of Palestinian statehood in coordination with fellow EU member states Ireland, Spain, and Malta. Slovenia would become the third EU member state to recognize Palestine in 2024, following formal recognition by Ireland and Spain, alongside non-EU member state Norway, on May 28.

Ten of the EU’s 27 member states have so far recognized an independent, sovereign Palestinian state. However, six of those states — the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and Romania — recognized a Palestinian state following the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s “Declaration of Independence” in 1988 while they were still under Communist Party rule. By contrast, the democratically elected governments in power since the collapse of the Soviet bloc have developed warm ties with Israel.

The Slovene announcement has again raised the prospect that the EU, as a bloc, will recognize an independent Palestine. EU Council President Charles Michel told Euronews on May 28 that he would support the bloc’s recognition of a Palestinian state “in a coordinated approach with EU member states and third countries.” However, member states remain divided over the question. On May 28, Denmark’s parliament rejected legislation to recognize a Palestinian state. Of the two most influential states in the EU, Germany continues to oppose a unilateral approach to Palestinian statehood, while France’s current position is that the timing is not right. On a visit to Germany on May 28, French President Emmanuel Macron said that he was “totally prepared to recognize a Palestinian state but this recognition must come at a useful moment,” adding, “I will not do a recognition based on emotion.” French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné meanwhile criticized those EU members which had opted for recognition, accusing them of “political positioning,” and asking pointedly, “Tell me, what exactly has the Spanish recognition changed a day later in Gaza? Nothing!”

Will France Abandon Its Opposition to Unilateral Recognition of an Independent Palestinian State?” by Ben Cohen

Spain, Ireland Lead Push in EU to Unilaterally Recognize Palestinian State,” FDD Flash Brief

Palestinian Statehood Bid Risks Triggering U.S. Defunding of UN,” FDD Flash Brief

EU Members Gear Up for Palestinian State Recognition,” FDD Flash Brief

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