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The New Arab Staff

Palestinian PM urges Spain to recognise Palestine

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 December, 2020

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Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh urged Spain to recognise Palestine in a meeting with Madrid's foreign minister in Ramallah.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh appealed to Spain to recognise Palestine as a state in response to Israel's illegal settlement activity and its continuing takeover of Palestinian land.

Shtayyeh met Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya at his office in the occupied city of Ramallah, where they discussed Spain's potential role in revitalising the political peace process by stamping out the illegal Israeli occupation.

"For the Palestinian side, any political path must aim to end the [Israeli] occupation and establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders," said Shtayyeh during the meeting, as he called for the "formation of an international coalition to end the occupation and recognise the State of Palestine."

He continued, "Any political opportunity must be invested to create a leap in the efforts to reach a solution that have been going on for 30 years. We must work to ensure that no new conference is only a formal opportunity, but rather an international political endeavour that opens up prospects for ending the occupation and establishing the Palestinian State."

Read also: Read also: Iraq passes law that 'equates' Palestinian refugees with Iraqis

In response, Gonzalez urged adding pressure to restart negotiations with Israel, saying Madrid is interested in supporting efforts to rebuild confidence between the Palestinians and Israel. She added that Spain was committed to provide the necessary support for the two parties to reach a settlement.

The violent Israeli settlement project has been seen as a hindrance to the peace process.

In November, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister and Security Minister Benny Gantz promised to approve 1,700 settlements in the occupied West Bank as the prospect of new elections looms. 

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, human rights groups say.

More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.

The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: Area A, Area B and Area C.

Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Area B's administration is controlled by the PA, with Israel controlling security. Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.

Attacks by Israeli settlers on the local Palestinian population in the West Bank are common, added to the stifling conditions of the occupation.

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