José Manuel Albares Bueno
Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Spain

The Recognition of the State of Palestine. What is at Stake?

The Palestinian people have a right to hope and the Israeli people have a right to security. That is the path to peace. That is the path to stop permanent violence and endless pain between peoples called to live together. Besides, as we have witnessed since the events of 7 October and those that followed, the risk of regional escalation is more real than ever with unpredictable geopolitical, economic and humanitarian consequences.
To secure peace, Spain, along with other like-minded countries, advocates the two-State solution. To make that solution irreversible is to make peace in the region irreversible. Moreover, there is a way to achieve this: to recognize Palestine as a State and a member of the United Nations.
The only way to put an end to this loop of recurrent violence in the Middle East is the two-State solution, taken on by the international community as a whole.
Now is the time to make it happen, and Spain will do it on 28 May. May the solution we all recognize - a Palestinian State living side by side with the State of Israel, in peace and security -finally become a reality. May peace between Israelis and Palestinians finally become a reality. The establishment of the Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel is certainly a matter of justice, but it is also the only viable option for peace. The Palestinian State must be viable, unifying Gaza and the West Bank under the same Palestinian Authority, with a link between the two and an outlet to the sea, and its capital in East Jerusalem.
Spain has consistently engaged with all relevant parties in the search for a peaceful solution to the conflict. President Sánchez and I have visited the region several times since 7 October. We have also held numerous calls with a range of regional partners and urged against regional escalation. Spain has been to the fore in consistently calling for an immediate ceasefire, the release of the hostages and the provision of humanitarian aid to civilians in need.
We have therefore decided to recognize the Palestinian State because the stakes are high: peace, justice, but above all hope and future. Spain will recognize the Palestinian State because the Palestinian people cannot be condemned to be a people of refugees, because it is the way to peace in the Middle East, because it is good for Israel’s security.
The Palestinian people have the right to a future with hope. Just as the Israeli people have the right to a future in peace and security. After so many decades of pain, we know that there cannot be one without the other: security in Israel and peace in the region are intertwined with the hope of the Palestinian people to have a State. Both have a right to it, the same right.
The Spanish Parliament called upon the Government to recognize the State of Palestine on 18 November 2014.Our decision is also deeply rooted in the heart of Spanish society. The decision has been announced in several occasions and is an irreversible commitment of our Government.
Besides, Spain has proposed holding an international peace conference as soon as possible, the aim of which is to move towards the materialization of this solution. The European Union has endorsed our proposal, as have the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. In total, more than 80 countries. We hope that this multilateral diplomacy in action can help to open a new page of history in the Middle East: that of definitive peace.
The best way to protect and guarantee that this two-State solution will be implemented is also to admit the State of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations Organization. This implies its recognition by all, as the vast majority of its members have already done, and as Spain is going to do.
We cannot wait any longer. In May 1948, three years after the San Francisco conference that gave birth to the United Nations, this Organization launched its first peacekeeping operation.
The first in history. It was 76 years ago and that first peacekeeping mission was in Palestine.
This is the oldest problem that the United Nations has faced. How much longer must we wait to solve it?
Hundreds of thousands of people - whole families, children - are now deprived of food, water, medicine, shelter. How much longer must they wait?
There are more than 100 hostages held by Hamas. How many more days must they and their families wait until they can return home? Since that horrific 7 October, violence has taken the lives of 1,200 Israelis, of more than 34,000 Palestinians. How many more lives must be lost? The Palestinian people must have a State of their own, and all those who have not yet done so must recognize Israel’s place and existence. It is justice for Palestine, it is the best guarantee of security for Israel, and it is the first and fundamental condition for a peaceful and thriving future in the region.
These - peace, justice, hope and future - are the values that the international community should uphold and defend. They are also the guidelines of what Spain, along with like-minded countries, is committed to. These ideas, and nothing else, we foster in Palestine. And we need them applied: for peace, for justice and out of sheer human dignity.