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Armenia recognizes Palestinian state, Israel furious, summons ambassador

Momentum has been building toward recognizing Palestinian statehood since the war in the Gaza Strip began last October.
A protester holds an Armenian national flag next to a placard with a Palestinian flag as students participate in a "Walkout to fight Genocide and Free Palestine" at Bruin Plaza at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) in Los Angeles on October 25, 2023. Thousands of people, both Israeli and Palestinians have died since October 7, 2023, after Palestinian Hamas militants based in the Gaza Strip, entered southern Israel in a surprise attack leading Israel to declare war on Hamas in Gaza the following da

Armenia announced on Friday its official recognition of an independent Palestinian state, following in the footsteps of Spain, Ireland, Norway and others that recognized Palestine in the aftermath of the Gaza war. 

The move infuriated the Israeli government, and it summoned the Armenian ambassador, Arman Hakobyan, for a "harsh reprimand," the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

In a statement published on its website, the Armenian Foreign Ministry expressed concerns over the “catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza and the ongoing military conflict,” while rejecting violence against civilians and hostage-taking.

“Based on the foregoing and reaffirming our commitment to international law and the principles of equality, sovereignty, and peaceful coexistence of peoples, the Republic of Armenia recognizes the State of Palestine,” the statement said.

The Foreign Ministry further stressed Armenia’s position in favor of a “peaceful and comprehensive” resolution to the Palestinian issue based on the two-state solution, based on the 1967 borders, which “is the only way to ensure that both Palestinians and Israelis can fulfill their legitimate aspirations.”

The war in Gaza has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, as Israel presses on with its offensive to eliminate the Iran-backed Hamas group. The Israeli military launched its air and ground campaign in the coastal enclave in response to Hamas’ cross-border assault, during which militants killed nearly 1,200 people and took over 240 others hostage.

The Palestinian presidency hailed Armenia’s move to recognize Palestine as a “courageous and significant decision.”

“This recognition contributes positively to preserving the two-state solution, which faces systematic challenges, and promotes security, peace, and stability for all parties involved,” it said in a statement, urging other countries to follow suit.

Armenia joins Slovenia, Spain, Norway and Ireland in recognizing Palestine as a state following the ongoing Oct. 7 war in Gaza, which Palestinians view as a major step that gives legitimacy to their national aspirations. 

Armenia commemorates every year the massacre of as many as 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I, recognized by the United States in 2021 as an act of genocide. 

The Armenian recognition of Palestine brings the total number of countries that recognize Palestine to 145 of the 193 member states of the United Nations, including Russia and China. However, major Western countries, such as the United States, France and Canada, have not declared their recognition of a Palestinian state.

Armenia has been locked in a territorial dispute with Israeli-backed Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region