Armenia Officially Recognizes Palestine

Armenia Officially Recognizes Palestine

Armenia officially recognized a Palestinian state on Friday, a move that received strong condemnation from Israel and praise from the Palestinian Authority.

In a statement announcing the recognition, the Armenian Foreign Ministry cited the “catastrophic humanitarian situation” in Gaza and reiterated Yerevan’s long-standing support for a “two-state solution” to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“We believe that this is the only way to ensure that Palestinians and Israelis can realize their legitimate aspirations,” the statement read. “Based on that and reaffirming its 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 Israeli Foreign Ministry swiftly condemned the decision and summoned the Armenian ambassador in Tel Aviv for what a ministry spokesperson described as a “harsh reprimand.”

In contrast, the Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in the West Bank under Israeli military occupation, welcomed Yerevan’s 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,” the Authority’s presidency said in a statement.

Yerevan’s decision also drew rare praise from Turkey. The Foreign Ministry in Ankara hailed Armenia’s recognition of Palestine.

“Turkey will continue its efforts for more countries to recognize Palestine,” the ministry said in a statement.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan by phone on Tuesday. They discussed “recent developments of the regional and international agenda,” according to the official Armenian readout of the call.

Numerous countries, mostly in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, have also recognized Palestine as a state. Recently, four European countries—Spain, Ireland, Norway, and Slovenia—followed suit.

Late last year, Armenia voted twice for United Nations General Assembly resolutions demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. In March, Armenia sent 30 tons of food and medicine to the Palestinian enclave.

Armenia’s relationship with Israel has been uneasy, especially since Israel became one of Azerbaijan’s main suppliers of weapons over a decade ago. These supplies continued during the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh, prompting Armenia to recall its ambassador to Israel in protest just days after the war’s outbreak in September 2020.

Azerbaijani forces heavily used Israeli-made attack drones and multiple-launch rocket systems throughout the hostilities, which were halted by a Russian-brokered ceasefire in November 2020. During a visit to Israel in March 2023, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov thanked the Israeli government for its support.

Azerbaijani-Israeli military cooperation appears to have continued since the 2020 war. Despite the tensions, Armenia appointed a new ambassador to Israel in April 2022.