Slovenian Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon
Slovenian Foreign Minister Tanja FajonReuters/Lev Radin/Sipa USA

Foreign Minister Israel Katz met on Sunday with his Slovenian counterpart, Tanja Fajon, and criticized her for considering a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, Ynet reported.

The meeting, marked by tension and attended by families of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, saw Katz assertively questioning the timing of such recognition, according to the report.

"Now you want to recognize a Palestinian state?" he asked. "After the massacre of October 7? Unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state would be a reward for Hamas and Iran. Such a state, should it be established, would be controlled by Hamas and Iran. We expect friendly countries like Slovenia to support Israel during this challenging time and not oppose us. Israel will not compromise on its security."

Fajon responded that her country is not acting against Israel.

"We are not against Israel, but our stance is clear. We support peace. We aim to prevent harm to civilians; this must stop. We need to bring in more humanitarian aid. This is a chance for a ceasefire, even a temporary one," she said, according to Ynet.

Katz, in response, emphasized Israel's conditions for peace and said, "Any ceasefire must be tied to the release of the hostages. If you truly want to protect civilians, you must apply pressure on Hamas. They are using civilians as human shields. Your efforts should focus on Hamas and the states that support it, to secure the release of the hostages and to disarm Hamas. Recognizing a Palestinian state would only encourage extremists to continue their violence and kidnappings, undermining efforts to secure the release of the captives still in Gaza."

In a subsequent post social media, Fajon called on Israel to avoid an attack on Rafah and remarked that recognizing a Palestinian state "is no longer a problem for Slovenia."

She warned that "without a ceasefire and serious efforts towards sustainable peace, the recognition of Palestine is fast approaching."

Slovenia, Ireland, Malta and Spain, recently released a joint statement in which they said 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.

Slovenia said back in 2019 that there is consensus in the country on the issue of recognition of the “State of Palestine” and that Slovenia will do that once a group of European Union member states are ready to do so.

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.