Slovenia’s government recognizes Palestinian state, needs parliamentary approval

The Slovenian government on Thursday approved a decision to recognize an independent Palestinian state, Prime Minister Robert Golob said, following in the steps of Spain, Ireland and Norway.

“Today, the government has decided to recognize Palestine as an independent and sovereign state,” he said at a news conference in Ljubljana.

The parliament of the European Union member country must also approve the government’s decision in the coming days.

Attempting to place pressure on Israel 

The move is part of a wider effort by countries to coordinate pressure on Israel to end the conflict in Gaza.

Golob also called for the immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in Gaza and the release of all hostages.

A Palestinian flag flies next to a Slovenian and a European Union flag, at the government building in Ljubljana, Slovenia May 30, 2024. (credit: REUTERS/BORUT ZIVULOVIC)

“This is the message of peace,” he said.

The Slovenian government raised a Palestinian flag alongside Slovenia and the EU flags in front of its building in downtown Ljubljana.

On May 28, Spain, Ireland, and Norway officially recognized a Palestinian state, prompting an angry reaction from Israel.

Israel’s response to the Slovenia

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz, condemned the decision of the Slovenian government on Thursday evening.  In a post on X, he wrote that “The Slovenian government’s decision to recommend that the Slovenian Parliament recognize a Palestinian state rewards Hamas for murder, rape, mutilation of bodies, beheading of babies, and strengthens the Iranian axis of evil while damaging the close friendship between the Slovenian and Israeli people.”

“I hope the Slovenian Parliament rejects this recommendation,” the post concluded. 

Other countries in the European Union that have recognized a Palestinian state

Of the 27 members of the European Union, Sweden, Cyprus, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria have already recognized a Palestinian state. Malta has said it could follow soon.

Britain and Australia have said they are also considering recognition, but France has said now is not the time.

Germany joined Israel’s staunchest ally, the United States, in rejecting a unilateral approach, insisting that a two-state solution can only be achieved through dialog.

Denmark’s parliament on Tuesday voted down a bill to recognize a Palestinian state.

Norway, which chairs the international donor group to the Palestinians, had until recently followed the U.S. position but has lost confidence that this strategy will work.

Israel has been fighting against Hamas, which rules Gaza, since a cross-border October 7 attack by terrorists in which some 1,200 people were killed and over 250 taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies. Nearly 130 hostages are believed to remain captive in Gaza.