Smotrich proposes financial sanctions and settlement expansion in response to Palestinian state recognition

The far-right minister outlined six immediate steps to target the Palestinian Authority (PA) following the recognition by Spain, Norway, and Ireland.

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Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has called for financial penalties against Palestinian officials and increased settlement construction in the occupied West Bank in retaliation for recent international recognition of a Palestinian state. The far-right minister outlined six immediate steps to target the Palestinian Authority (PA) following the recognition by Spain, Norway, and Ireland.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long been marked by disputes over territory, governance, and state recognition. Efforts to recognize Palestinian statehood have been ongoing, with various countries and international bodies advocating for a two-state solution. Recently, Spain, Norway, and Ireland have joined the list of nations formally recognizing Palestine, adding momentum to the Palestinian quest for statehood.

In a statement on X (formerly Twitter), Smotrich detailed measures including the cancellation of VIP permits for senior PA officials, financial sanctions on these officials and their families, and the approval of 10,000 new housing units in the occupied West Bank. “I have instructed the Settlement Directorate to prepare a decision-making text with three strategic settlements and I demand that such a decision be approved as soon as tomorrow,” he wrote.

The announcements by Spain, Norway, and Ireland were met with a mix of support and condemnation. Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris, speaking at a news conference, emphasized the importance of recognizing Palestine to advance peace and justice. Palestinian representatives, including ambassador Hossam Zomlot, welcomed the recognition as steps towards achieving self-determination and peace.

In response to the recognition, Israel’s foreign ministry ordered the immediate recall of its ambassadors to Ireland and Norway. Foreign Minister Israel Katz issued a strong statement condemning the recognition and warning of severe consequences. National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir called for intensified operations in Gaza, further complicating the already tense situation.

These developments have significant implications for Israeli-Palestinian relations. Smotrich’s proposed measures could lead to increased tensions and violence, undermining efforts towards a peaceful resolution. The international community remains divided, with some countries supporting Palestinian statehood and others backing Israel’s right to self-defense.

The current situation can be compared to past international recognition and retaliatory measures. Historical examples show that such actions often lead to further entrenchment of positions rather than progress towards peace. Comparative analysis with other global conflicts suggests that diplomatic engagement and adherence to international law are essential for a sustainable solution.

Hossam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, said: “History is being made. Thank you, Ireland, Norway, and Spain for recognizing our inalienable right to self-determination and our distinct national identity. This will move us closer to justice and a sustainable peace.”

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