Norway, Ireland and Spain said Wednesday they were recognizing a Palestinian state, a move welcomed by Palestinians as an affirmation of their decadeslong quest while Israel recalled its ambassadors to the three countries.

Several countries in the European Union indicated in recent weeks they plan to make the recognition, arguing a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region. Some 140 countries have already recognized a Palestinian state — more than two-thirds of United Nations members — but none of the major Western powers have done so.

It was the second blow to Israel's international reputation this week after the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said he would seek arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister. The International Court of Justice is also considering allegations of genocide that Israel has strenuously denied.

The moves come amid international outrage over the civilian death toll and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Among the ICC prosecutor's allegations was that Israel is using ''starvation as a method of warfare.''

The U.N. said Wednesday that more than 900,000 displaced Palestinians lack food, water, shelter and other essentials for their survival. Around 80% of the population of 2.3 million Palestinians has been driven from their homes during the war, often multiple times.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after Hamas' Oct. 7 attack in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed about 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

At least 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, according to Gaza's Health Ministry, which doesn't distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Currently:

— Takeaways from AP examination of how two debunked accounts of sexual violence on Oct. 7 originated

— Norway, Ireland and Spain recognize a Palestinian state in a historic move.

— What to know about the new European recognitions of a Palestinian state.

— The United Nations halts all food distribution in Rafah after running out of supplies in the southern Gaza city.

— Israel tries to contain the fallout after some allies support ICC prosecutor's request for warrants.

Follow AP's coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here's the latest:

IRAQ RECEIVES ITS FIRST FROUP OF WOUNDED PALESTINIANS FROM GAZA

BAGHDAD — Iraq received its first group of wounded Palestinians evacuated from Gaza on Wednesday, Iraqi health officials said.

The country's Ministry of Health said in a statement that 27 wounded Palestinians arrived along with their relatives — mainly women, children, and the elderly — from Egypt on an Iraqi military plane accompanied by medical staff. They will be treated at Baghdad Medical City, it said.

Deputy Health Minister Hani al-Iqabi vowed this would not be the last group of evacuees from Gaza to come to Iraq.

There have been no medical evacuations from Gaza since May 7, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Wednesday, after Israeli tanks and troops seized the vital Rafah crossing into Egypt. The crossing has remained closed.

ISRAEL'S FAR-RIGHT MINISTER VISITS CONTESTED HOLY SITE IN JERUSALEM

JERUSALEM — Israel's far-right national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, visited Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site on Wednesday in what he described as a protest against the recognition of a Palestinian state by Spain, Ireland and Norway.

Ben-Gvir said he wanted to make a statement ''from the holiest place for the people of Israel, which belongs only to the state of Israel.''

The contested hilltop compound is home to the Al Aqsa Mosque, which Palestinians consider a national symbol and view such visits as provocative. Ben-Gvir has frequently visited the site, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, during tense periods. Tensions at the disputed compound have fueled past rounds of violence.

It was the latest act of defiance by an ultranationalist settler leader who has transformed himself over the decades from an outlaw and provocateur into one of Israel's most influential politicians.

In his Cabinet post, Ben-Gvir oversees the country's police force. As a key coalition partner, Ben-Gvir also has the power to rob Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of his parliamentary majority and force early elections. He has threatened to bring down the government if Israel does not launch a full-fledged invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

ISRAEL ORDERS A HOSPITAL TO EVACUATE IN NORTHERN GAZA — THE SECOND HOSPITAL CLOSED IN THE PAST 2 DAYS AMID HEAVY FIGHTING

CAIRO — The Palestinian Health Ministry says a main hospital in northern Gaza has been evacuated on orders of Israeli troops.

The Israeli military ordered the evacuation of Awda hospital on Wednesday after surrounding the facility the past four days. There had been 140 patients, staff and others in the hospital and all but 38 of them left the hospital to nearby Gaza City, it said.

A day earlier, another hospital in the north, Kamal Adwan, had to be evacuated after coming under fire from Israeli forces, the ministry said.

The Israeli military did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

The two hospitals are located in or near Jabaliya refugee camp, where Israeli troops have been waging an intensified assault for days against Hamas fighters who the military says had regrouped there.

Israel's 7-month-old offensive in Gaza, triggered by Hamas' Oct. 7 attack, has devastated the territory's health sector. Around two-thirds of Gaza's original 36 hospitals have been forced to shut down, and the rest only partially function.

OVER 900,000 DISPLACED PALESTINIANS LACK ESSENTIAL FOOD, WATER AND SHELTER, U.N. SAYS

UNITED NATIONS – The nearly 815,000 Palestinians displaced from Gaza's southern city of Rafah by escalating hostilities and evacuation orders as well as about 100,000 people in northern Gaza lack essentials for their survival, the U.N. humanitarian office said Wednesday.

People need shelter, food, water and other supplies amid reports of ongoing Israeli bombardments and heavy fighting, especially in eastern Rafah and Jabaliya in the north, said the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, known as OCHA, said Wednesday that those fleeing need

Over the past 10 days, OCHA said, nearly 150,000 people have registered for services provided by the U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, in the central city of Khan Younis where thousands have fled from Rafah. It said UNRWA has seen a 36% increase in the number of people seeking shelter at its facilities there.

''Families are living among rubble in damaged schools and lack tents, essential services and vital supplies,'' UNRWA reported.

OCHA said food distribution remains suspended in Rafah because of supply shortages and insecurity.

The humanitarian office said efforts are being made to establish additional kitchens to provide food to the hundreds of thousands in need in Khan Younis, Deir al Balah, where Palestinians have also fled, and Gaza City.

Meanwhile, OCHA said the U.N. World Health Organization reported that Kamal Adwan hospital — the largest partially functional hospital in the north — was reportedly hit four times on Tuesday.

In a social media post on Wednesday, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said efforts were underway to evacuate 20 health staff and more than a dozen patients who were still inside the facility.

U.N. SAYS FIRST FOOD AID FROM SEA CORRIDOR MAKES IT TO PALESTINAINS IN NEED, DAYS AFTER PIER PROJECT OPENED

WASHINGTON — The U.N. World Food Program was able to hand out a ''limited number'' of high-energy biscuits in central Gaza in recent days, marking the first aid brought in via the $320 million U.S. pier project that has gotten into the hands of people in need, a spokesperson with the program said Wednesday.

The small amount of biscuits distributed had been unloaded Friday, the first day of shipments from the pier, WFP spokesman Steve Taravella said.

High-energy biscuits are nutritionally fortified food that can be consumed without cooking or refrigeration, and are a staple of humanitarian distribution in crisis zones.

Israeli restrictions on land crossings, and fighting overall, have cut delivery of food and aid into Gaza to its lowest levels since the first months of the Israel-Hamas war, now in its eighth month.

The Biden administration led opening of the U.S. pier and causeway for a sea route to get aid into Gaza. International officials say all 2.3 million people of Gaza are struggling to get food, and famine has begun in north Gaza.

The U.S., U.N. and humanitarian groups stress that the pier can bring in only a fraction of the aid needed, and call on Israel to allow a steady large flow of trucks through land borders.

On Saturday, movement of aid from the pier project to aid warehouses in Gaza was halted for two days after crowds gathering outside the secured dock area stripped 11 of the 16 trucks of their aid cargo. One man in the crowd was shot and killed, in still-unexplained circumstances.

The WFP warned that the U.S. sea effort may fail unless Israel provides clearance and cooperation for alternate land routes and better security.

Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters Tuesday he did not believe any of the aid from the pier had yet reached Palestinians in need. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said otherwise Wednesday, saying some aid had been delivered ''specifically to the Palestinians who need it.''

GUNBATTLES AND CLASHES IN NORTHERN WEST BANK CITY DRAG INTO A SECOND DAY, WITH AT LEAST 10 KILLED

JENIN, West Bank — Two days of gunbattles between the Israeli army and Palestinian militants in the northern West Bank city of Jenin have killed 11 Palestinians and injured at least 25 others, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Wednesday.

Jenin and the adjacent urban refugee camp have long been a bastion of armed struggle against Israel's occupation, and the tempo of raids by Israeli troops has increased during the war in Gaza.

Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters: one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed offshoot of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group said an unspecified number of its fighters were killed.

Associated Press journalists saw Israeli military vehicles and at least one armored bulldozer roaming Jenin's empty streets on Wednesday, firing tear gas and live ammunition as Palestinians burned tires and threw stones.

Masked protesters set up a replica rocket and a green Hamas flag as columns of acrid black smoke rose into the air. One Palestinian fell to the ground bleeding from an apparent leg wound, and was quickly swarmed by paramedics. Soldiers flew a small drone ahead of a vehicle and into the window of a building.

The Israeli military said Wednesday there have been ''extensive exchanges of fire'' since its troops entered Jenin on Tuesday to root out militants, and ''uninvolved civilians were reportedly hit.'' No Israeli soldiers were killed or injured.

The Palestinian Health Ministry says 517 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since Oct. 7, the deadliest period since the U.N. began recording data. Many were shot dead in armed clashes during military raids, others for throwing stones at troops, and some who posed no apparent threat.

U.N. AGENCY FOR PALESTINIAN REFUGEES GETS FRESH SUPPORT FROM JORDAN, KUWAIT AND SLOVENIA

UNITED NATIONS – Jordan, Kuwait and Slovenia have launched an initiative to support the beleaguered U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA. The agency has been the main provider of humanitarian aid, education and health services in Gaza, however it faces intense Israeli opposition.

Jordan's Ambassador Mahmoud Hmoud announced the initiative on Wednesday surrounded by many diplomats, saying UNRWA has ''a vital role in providing life-saving humanitarian assistance and human development services to generations of Palestine refugees'' not only in Gaza and the West Bank but also in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

''We therefore believe it is important for countries to reaffirm their support for the work of the agency and its indispensable role in providing assistance and relief, and send signals of strong political support for UNRWA,'' he said.

Hmoud said the sponsors would be sending a letter Wednesday to all 193 U.N. member nations inviting them to join the initiative.

Israel has accused UNRWA of employing staff with links to Hamas, which controlled Gaza and launched a surprise attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7 that killed about 1,200 people.

An independent review of UNRWA's neutrality released in late April stressed the critical importance of the agency and found that Israel never expressed concern about anyone on the staff lists it has received annually since 2011. It said UNRWA has ''robust'' procedures to uphold U.N. principles of neutrality but cited serious gaps in implementation.

The review was carried out after Israel alleged that a dozen UNRWA employees participated in the Oct. 7 attacks. A separate U.N. investigation into those allegations is ongoing.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador told reporters Wednesday that UNRWA needs political as well as financial support. He expressed hope that many countries will join the ''urgent and timely initiative … supporting UNRWA and sending a meaningful message of solidarity to the Palestinian people.''

U.S. MILITARY IS HELPING U.N. TO GET AID MOVING INTO THE GAZA STRIP

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military is working with the World Food Program to help get distribution moving into Gaza, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., said Wednesday at an Atlantic Council event. He did not provide further details.

''We've done the part of giving the aid to Gaza,'' Brown explained. ''But that same time we're going to make sure we connect the dots at the end ... to get the distribution to be able to move forward.''

In the last few days the U.S. has worked with the U.N. and Israel to better coordinate and identify alternative routes for the convoys, Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said at a Pentagon press conference Tuesday. The U.S. military however would not have any role in securing the aid convoys.

Brown did not rule out that the U.S. could have a role in helping provide post-conflict security in Gaza, but said it would be important to involve countries who are best equipped and have the best working knowledge of the situation on the ground now.

When asked if U.S. forces would have a role, Brown said ''not necessarily,'' and that the U.S. would also likely assist by providing guidance based on their experiences in previous post-conflict operations, such as Afghanistan or Iraq. He did not elaborate.

The U.S. has provided crucial weapons and diplomatic support for Israel during the war in Gaza, and has senior military advisers working alongside the Israeli military. The U.S. repeatedly said no American troops went ashore in the operation to build a pier for aid off Gaza.

GAZA NEEDS 600 TRUCKLOADS OF FOOD AND OTHER AID, U.S. HUMANITARIAN AGENCY SAYS

WASHINGTON — Gaza needs a daily flow of 600 truckloads of food and other aid into the territory to curb famine and address the growing overall humanitarian crisis there, the U.S. Agency for International Development said.

A new U.S. aid pier will only be able to provide a quarter of that aid, even once it's operating at full capacity. The $320 million pier project on Gaza's coast was constructed to bring in more aid by sea, as Israeli restrictions and fighting hinder deliveries through land crossings.

International officials say all 2.3 million Gaza residents are struggling to find food to eat, and 1.1 million are facing catastrophic levels of food shortage.

The U.S. pier project began operations last week, and has since gotten 41 trucks carrying aid to aid groups in Gaza, USAID said in a statement sent to The Associated Press. Efforts to deliver more into Gaza were suspended for at least two days after Palestinians overran a convoy of aid that was leaving the U.S. project site Saturday, and a Palestinian man at the scene was shot and killed in unexplained circumstances.

The updated figure on the need in Gaza comes as the U.N. World Food Program says the flow of aid and fuel into the territory has fallen to its lowest point since the first months of the Israel-Hamas war, when Israel had cut off the flow of food, medicine, water and electricity to Gaza.

''Much more must be done to save lives and alleviate the widespread suffering of Palestinian civilians,'' USAID said. The U.N. and nonprofit humanitarian organizations warn that the reduced flow of goods into Gaza has aid operations there on the brink of collapse.

USAID is helping coordinate intended distribution of the aid from the pier, working with the WFP and private humanitarian groups. As of Tuesday, 93 trucks have offloaded nearly 700 metric tons of aid at the U.S. and Israeli-controlled dock, and Israel is still inspecting cargo and the loading of ships on Cyprus, a hub for the U.S. operation, USAID said.

Aid officials previously have pointed to the pre-war average of 500 truckloads of goods a day getting into Gaza as the minimum needed.

PALESTINIAN U.N. AMBASSADOR PRAISES STATEHOOD RECOGNITION BY 3 EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

UNITED NATIONS — Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, welcomed the historic but largely symbolic move by Norway, Ireland and Spain to recognize a Palestinian state.

''This European wave, hopefully, will be followed by other waves of support to the state of Palestine,'' the ambassador told reporters. He also expressed hope that it would spur momentum for the state of Palestine's admission to the United Nations as its 194th member nation.

The United States recently used its veto in the Security Council to block Palestine's full admission to the U.N., saying admission must follow Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Some 140 countries — more than two-thirds of the United Nations — recognize a Palestinian state.

ISRAEL'S FINANCE MINISTER SAYS HE WILL STOP SENDING PALESTINIAN TAX REVENUE TO WEST BANK

JERUSALEM — Israel's far-right finance minister said Wednesday he would stop transferring tax revenues earmarked for the Palestinian Authority, a move that threatens to handicap the government's already-waning ability to pay salaries to its thousands of employees.

Bezalel Smotrich said he was taking the move in retaliation, hours after Norway said it would recognize Palestinian statehood.

Under interim peace accords in the 1990s, Israel collects tax revenues on behalf of the Palestinians and transfers them to the PA, which uses them in part to pay wages.

After the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, Smotrich froze the transfers. In a wartime arrangement, Israel agreed to send the funds to Norway, which would then make the transfer to the PA. The internationally recognized PA administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Smotrich said Wednesday he was ending this arrangement and would request the return of funds back to Israel. ''Norway was the first to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state today and it cannot be a partner in anything related to Judea and Samaria,'' he said on X, using the biblical name for the West Bank.

According to the PA, Israel has withheld the equivalent of $1.5 billion since the war erupted. The government, the largest employer in the Palestinian Territories, has only been able to pay partial salaries since the war began.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hard-line government opposes Palestinian independence. Smotrich, a former West Bank settler leader, has been an outspoken voice in fighting Palestinian independence efforts and strengthening settlements built on occupied land.

MALTA WILL RECOGNIZE A PALESTINIAN STATE 'WHEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE RIGHT'

VALETTA, Malta — Malta's government is ready to recognize a Palestinian state ''when such recognition can make a positive contribution, and when the circumstances are right,'' the Mediterranean country's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

Malta was among four EU states, including Ireland, Spain and Slovenia, that in March started discussions on a possible recognition of a Palestinian state. Ireland, Spain and Norway said Wednesday they were moving forward with their recognition.

In a statement, the ministry said authorities were monitoring developments in the Middle East to determine ''the optimal timeframes'' for a recognition.

''Malta has consistently persisted in its position in favour of a two-state solution that meets the aspirations of the people of Israel and Palestine, with Jerusalem as the capital of two states living side-by-side in peace and security,'' Malta's statement said.

BELGIAN CABINET GRAPPLES WITH THE ISSUE OF RECOGNITION OF A PALESTINIAN STATE

BRUSSELS — The Belgian government was discussing whether to join three other European nations in recognizing a Palestinian state at its weekly meeting on Wednesday, and Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that any recognition needed to have the right timing.

''You can recognize only once. So when we do it, it needs to come at the right moment when it has an immediate impact. I want an impact on two issues. I want an end to violence in Gaza. I want that the hostages are freed,'' he told VRT network.

''The right perspective is: will it help the violence stop tomorrow or not?''

Belgium is in a delicate situation since it currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, giving any decision it takes added diplomatic weight.

CROATIA NOT CONSIDERING RECOGNITION OF A PALESTINIAN STATE AT THE MOMENT

ZAGREB, Croatia — Croatia is not considering the recognition of a Palestinian state at the moment, the prime minister of the European Union nation said on Wednesday.

Andrej Plenkovic said that ''Croatia's permanent position is based on a two-state solution but in a way that would lead to an agreement,'' the official HINA news agency reported.

Croatia is the newest EU member after joining the bloc in 2013, after a war that followed the country's split from the former Yugoslav federation in 1991. The former Yugoslavia had recognized a Palestinian state in 1988 and established full diplomatic relations a year later.

ISRAEL'S JUSTICE DEPT. SAYS ICC PROSECUTOR HAS NO AUTHORITY TO SEEK ARRESTS

JERUSALEM — Israel's Justice Department says the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has no authority to seek arrest warrants against the country's leaders because Israel is capable of investigating itself.

ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for alleged crimes linked to the war in Gaza, including intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population and using starvation as a weapon of war.

Khan is also seeking warrants against three Hamas leaders over the militant group's Oct. 7 attack that ignited the war.

Israel's top justice officials — Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara and State Prosecutor Amit Aisman— issued a statement on Wednesday calling the ICC allegations against Israel ''unfounded.''

They said Israel's legal offices ''thoroughly examine all credible allegations of violations of the law by state officials, and enforce the law'' adding that the ICC ''lacks jurisdiction to conduct an investigation into the matter.''

Human right groups have long accused Israel of failing to investigate or punish its security forces over violence committed against Palestinians.

FRANCE INDICATES IT WON'T RECOGNIZE A PALESTINIAN STATE YET

PARIS — France indicated that it isn't ready to join other countries in recognizing a Palestinian state, even if it isn't opposed to the idea in principle.

French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné, in comments relayed by his ministry after he had a closed-door meeting Wednesday with his Israeli counterpart, said that recognizing a Palestinian state must be ''useful'' in pushing forward a two-state solution and suggested that doing so now won't have a genuine impact in pursuing that goal.

''Our position is clear: recognition of Palestine is not a taboo for France,'' he said. ''This decision must be useful, that is to say permit decisive progress on the political level.''

He also said timing is important, arguing: ''It must come at the right time so that there is a before and an after.''

''It is not just a symbolic question or an issue of political positioning, but a diplomatic tool serving the solution of two states living side by side, in peace and security,'' he said. ''France does not consider that the conditions were present now for this decision to have a real impact in this process.''

ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER ANNOUNCES ORDER THAT COULD ALLOW JEWISH SETTLERS TO RETURN TO 3 EVACUATED SETTLEMENTS

TEL AVIV, Israel — Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced a bureaucratic order that could allow Jewish settlers to return to three evacuated settlements in the northern part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Gallant said Wednesday he would attach three evacuated settlements to the local settler regional council, the first step in allowing the settlements to apply for building permits and allow Jewish settlers to return to the area.

Israel evacuated the settlements along with its unilateral pullout from Gaza in 2005. Since then, Israeli citizens have been officially banned from returning to those four settlements, though the Israeli military has allowed activists to visit and pray there.

In March 2023, the government repealed the 2005 act, paving the way for an official return to the abandoned West Bank areas in another setback to Palestinian hopes for statehood.

In May 2023, Homesh, one of the four evacuated settlements, was attached to the local settler regional council and a religious Jewish school was established there.

Gallant's announcement Wednesday applies the same status to the former settlements of Kadim, Sha-Nur, and Ganim. The head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, hailed the announcements as ''a moment of historical correction,'' adding that the move is ''necessary for the highest level of morals and security for the State of Israel, especially after Oct. 7.''

Activists with the left-wing organization Peace Now, which is opposed to settlements in the West Bank, said the move was ''extremely concerning,'' but noted that the approval of homes could take years.

SLOVENIA LAUDS COUNTRIES' RECOGNITION OF A PALESTINIAN STATE

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia – Slovenia on Wednesday hailed the recognition of an independent Palestinian state by Norway, Spain and Ireland, but stopped short of immediately following suit.

Earlier in the year, Slovenia's government launched a recognition procedure for a Palestinian state, but the small European Union nation has said the formal step will take place when it could best contribute to a lasting peace in the Middle East.

''The Slovenian government was the first of the group of countries that signed a special declaration … to start the process of recognizing Palestine, in which we expressed expectations — not conditions — for both sides,'' Prime Minister Robert Golob said in a statement. He added that ''Palestinians need more than just a symbolic gesture of recognition.''

''We would like to help to reform and empower the Palestinian Authority, which will represent its population in both the West Bank and Gaza and lead it to a two-state solution, which is seen by almost the entire world as the solution to lasting peace,'' said Golob.

In Slovenia, lawmakers must give the final approval for the recognition of a state.

SOME PALESTINIANS ARE SURVIVING ON AS LITTLE AS 2 CUPS OF WATER PER DAY, AID GROUPS SAY

JERUSALEM — Aid groups say damage to water infrastructure and fuel shortages in southern Gaza have left some Palestinians surviving on as little as a half-liter (2 cups) of water per day. That has to cover drinking, washing and cooking, and is only 3% of the 15 liters per day that the World Health Organization says is needed for basic survival.

The International Rescue Committee and Medical Aid for Palestinians, which both operate in Gaza, say water-borne diseases have surged, in part because of the effect of water shortages on hygiene and sanitation. Kiryn Lanning, who leads the IRC's work in Gaza, says staff visited a shelter where 10,000 people only received 4,000 liters of water per day. Another shelter, housing 8,000 people, had only 12 latrines, forcing over 600 people to share a single one.

Melanie Ward, the CEO of Medical Aid for Palestinians, said she had seen ''literal lakes of human waste'' next to tents in Rafah. Doctors with the group say diarrhea and skin diseases are on the rise, and that children have died from dehydration and starvation.

Israel's incursion into Rafah earlier in May has caused around 900,000 Palestinians to flee the southern city, with many seeking refuge in squalid tent camps with no plumbing and few services. It has also severely restricted the ability to provide aid in the south. Israel seized control of the Rafah border crossing at the start of its incursion, forcing it to close. That was the main entry point for fuel, which is needed to power water infrastructure, hospitals and other infrastructure.

The United Nations suspended food distribution in Rafah on Tuesday, citing lack of supplies and security threats. Some 400,000 people are still believed to be in the city.

TURKEY WELCOMES EUROPEAN COUNTRIES' RECOGNITION OF A PALESTINIAN STATE

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey welcomed Spain, Ireland and Norway's decision to recognize a Palestinian state, calling it an important step toward the restoration of the ''usurped rights of the Palestinians.''

The Turkish Foreign Ministry also said the move would help ''Palestine gain the status it deserves in the international community.'' Turkey would continue with efforts to press more states to recognize it, the ministry said.

IRELAND RECOGNIZES A PALESTINIAN STATE IN COORDINATED MOVE WITH SPAIN AND NORWAY

LONDON — Ireland has recognized a Palestinian state, Prime Minister Simon Harris said Wednesday.

Harris called the move, coordinated with Spain and Norway, ''an historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine.''

He said the move was intended to help move the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to resolution through a two-state solution. The Irish decision will formally take effect on May 28, the government said.

SPAIN ANNOUNCES IT WILL RECOGNIZE A PALESTINIAN STATE

BARCELONA, Spain — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez says that his country will recognize a Palestinian state on May 28.

Sánchez, Spain's Socialist leader since 2018, made the expected announcement to the nation's Parliament on Wednesday.

Sánchez has spent months touring European and Middle Eastern countries to garner support for the recognition of a Palestinian state, as well as a possible cease-fire in Gaza. He has said several times that he was committed to the move.

Earlier in May, Spain's Foreign Minister José Albares said he had informed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken of his government's intention of recognizing a Palestinian state.

NORWAY FORMALLY RECOGNIZES A PALESTINIAN STATE

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said Wednesday that the country would formally recognize a Palestinian state, saying, ''There cannot be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition.''

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed Norway's recognition of a Palestinian state and called on other countries to follow. In a statement carried by the official WAFA news agency, he said Norway's decision, announced Wednesday, will enshrine ''the Palestinian people's right to self-determination'' and support efforts to bring about a two-state solution with Israel.

Gahr Støre said the Scandinavian country will recognize a Palestinian state as of May 28.

Norway is not a member of the European Union but mirrors its moves, and has been an ardent supporter of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestinians.