MADRID - Spain, Ireland, and Norway this week announced they will formally recognize the State of Palestine on May 28, bucking a historical trend among Western nations to leave the issue to one side.

While 143 of the 193 member states of the United Nations have taken the step, many of the world’s most powerful countries, notably G7 members including the U.S., the UK, France, Germany, and Italy, have not.

The move by the governments of the three European countries is seen as being designed to provide an impetus for others to follow suit.

Israel responded by recalling its ambassadors and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision “a reward for terrorism.”

Nour Odeh, a Palestinian political analyst and a former spokesperson for the Palestinian National Authority, said that recognition is not merely a symbolic act, but “an act of legal and political commitment.”