The recent announcement that Spain, along with Norway and Ireland, will recognize the Palestinian State next week will not affect the “great relationship” of the United States with our country and its Government. The Biden administration respects the “sovereign” decision of the Government of Pedro Sánchez. The US ambassador to Spain, Melissa Reynoso, reported this in a new edition of the Vanguard Forums, held at the headquarters of the Il·lustre Col·legi de l’Advocacia de Barcelona (ICAB), by assuring that “we completely respect the position of Spain and other countries that have made this decision” and that, in fact, “there is more controversy in the US on this issue than in Spain.”

The international recognition of Palestine by Spain is just one more episode of the shift that the conflict between Israel and Palestine is generating in the international sphere, but the US is encountering an unprecedented problem in this regard within its borders. The student protests against Israel’s way of acting in Gaza have heightened political opposition, to the point that the Democratic Party is suffering an internal division. Reynoso did not shy away from the issue by admitting that in his country “we are very critical of the Israeli government, but the way is different” from that of Spain, not through “unilateral” recognition.

Unlike our country, “we have to continue supporting Israel’s right to defend itself militarily,” explained the ambassador, but Spain “understands our position” and “we have the same objective: peace, two states and the release of the hostages.” Israelis kidnapped by Hamas on October 7.

Reynoso responded to the main concern generated by his presence in this forum the same week that the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, announced the recognition of the Palestinian State, raised by the general director of the presidency of the Godó Group, Ramon Rovira, and the deputy to the director of La Vanguardia, Enric Juliana. 

And the US has a capital influence in Israel but is immersed in an electoral process that will culminate on November 5. American President Joe Biden, who is seeking re-election, faces growing pressure in the streets and in his party. Among Democrats, the questioning of unconditional support for Israel, weapons through, by the US administration, is growing, and there are many heavyweights and congressmen of the party who have made known to the president their disagreement with Israel’s way of acting in Gaza. . Added to this is the wave of protests in the form of camping trips by university students throughout the country.

Biden is in a bind, as evidenced a few weeks ago with the delay in arms shipments to Israel after the start of military operations in Rafah. Maintaining unconditional support for Israel could make the president lose the confidence of the youth vote, but supporting the protesters or revealing sympathy for them would be counterproductive in the country with the largest Jewish population abroad, which would result in a loss of donors.

Precisely the electoral issue has been decisive for the recognition of Spain, but at the same time, the European elections mark the times of other countries in the same direction. The Spanish Government anticipates that a second wave of European countries will recognize the Palestinian State after the 9-J elections. Whether it happens or not, the old Europe is turning little by little. In fact, the recent vote in the UN General Assembly on the inclusion of Palestine as a full member state reflected great support. France and Portugal, for example, voted in favor despite having taken no steps internally to recognize Palestine.

Reynoso was sympathetic to the Spanish position, highlighting above all that “we share with the Government of Spain the main objective of creating a security situation” in the Middle East, a “solution to the conflict, the violence and the entry of immediate humanitarian aid.” ”.

The Biden administration’s vision to achieve this has not changed, it involves “having two independent states,” but “the way to get there is by taking a slightly different path,” Reynoso warned. It is about reaching a status in which “the two lead a government of their own choosing” through an “agreement” in which the two parties “recognize each other”, also with the active participation of other countries in the region that Today they do not even recognize the State of Israel. 

This enterprise is aggravated by the division of Palestine and the lack of recognition of a single authority, which is precisely what in his opinion leaves any recognition of the Palestinian state lame. “We still have to define what it is. Who is the leader, who represents the Palestinian State. Gaza has a government represented by Hamas that is political but also terrorist…,” the ambassador highlighted. 

A total of 143 countries of the 193 that are part of the UN have recognized the Palestinian State – 163 recognize Israel – and of them eight belong to the European Union: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania and Sweden. Spain, Ireland and Norway will join this club next week.

Western Europe and the United States’ closest allies do not recognize the Palestinian state, but things are beginning to change. In Europe, there is a certain rebalancing with respect to the initial position, focused on supporting Israel after the Hamas attacks of October 7. and also in the US there are movements never seen before.