STORY: SIMON HARRIS: "Today, Ireland, Norway, and Spain are announcing that we recognize the state of Palestine."

Ireland, Spain and Norway announced on Wednesday (May 22) that they would recognize a Palestinian state on May 28, urging other Western countries to follow suit.

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the three countries hoped the step would accelerate efforts to secure a ceasefire in Israel's war with Hamas in Gaza.

Israel immediately recalled its ambassadors.

Earlier in May, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly backed a Palestinian bid to become a full member, which would effectively recognize a Palestinian state.

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris:

"I'm confident that further countries will join us in taking this important step in the coming weeks. This is an historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine."

The decision was welcomed by the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli occupied West Bank, and by Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

But Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said the recognition undermined Israel's right to self-defense and efforts to return the 128 hostages being held by Hamas.

Sanchez said Israel had a right to respond to the militant group's October 7 attack on southern Israel, when 1,200 people were killed according to Israeli tallies.

But not as it had in Gaza.

"And if one thing is clear to me, it is that Prime Minister Netanyahu has no peace project for Palestine. Fighting the terrorist group is legitimate and necessary after the events of 7 October. But Netanyahu is creating so much pain and so much destruction and so much rancour in Gaza and the rest of Palestine that the viability of a two-state solution is in serious danger."

At a pro-Palestinian solidarity camp in Madrid, students mostly welcomed the announcement but warned it wasn't enough.

Daniel Mair-Richard:

"These are empty words. It does us no good to recognize the Palestinian state if you continue to sell arms to Israel when a genocide is taking place. We demand an end to these empty gestures and call for the immediate cut-off of relations with Israel now and stop the arms trade because genocide is being committed with these weapons and we do not want to be complicit in genocide."

European states have varied in approach - France said on Wednesday conditions were not yet met to recognize Palestine as a state.