Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro SanchezMoncloa Palace/Fernando Calvo/Pool via Reuters

The Prime Ministers of Ireland, Malta, Slovenia and Spain announced on Friday that they had agreed to take initial steps towards recognizing a Palestinian state.

“We are agreed on the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire, the unconditional release of hostages and a rapid, massive and sustained increase of humanitarian aid into Gaza,” the leaders said in a joint statement following a meeting on the sidelines of the European Council.

“We are agreed that the only way to achieve lasting peace and stability in the region is through implementation of a two-state solution, with Israeli and Palestinian States living side-by-side, in peace and security,” they said.

Finally, the leaders stated that they “discussed together our readiness to recognize Palestine and said that we would do so when it can make a positive contribution and the circumstances are right.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has long urged countries to recognize “Palestine” as a means of bypassing direct talks with Israel.

While several European countries have recognized “Palestine” in recent years, those moves were symbolic ones that have little, if any, actual diplomatic effect.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron recently said his country could officially recognize a Palestinian state after a ceasefire in Gaza without waiting for the outcome of what could be years-long talks between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.

A report in The Washington Post last month said that the Biden administration, together with several Arab countries, is quickly advancing a plan for a timetable to create a Palestinian state the day after the war in Gaza ends.

In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel rejects international dictates regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinian Arabs and would continue to oppose the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

The Knesset later voted to back Netanyahu’s declaration opposing any unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)