‘Important step’ as Ireland recognises Palestinian State

Ireland has announced plans to officially recognise a Palestinian state.

It comes as the three leaders of the coalition government – Taoiseach Simon Harris, Tánaiste Micheál Martin and Green Party Minister Eamon Ryan – held a press conference at Government buildings in Dublin on Wednesday morning.

Mr Harris said that it was an “important and historic day for Ireland and for Palestine”.

Israel have recalled their envoys to Ireland, claiming that Ireland’s decision will encourage terrorism and more instability.

Norway and Spain have also announced on Wednesday that they will recognise a Palestinian state.

Currently, eight EU member states recognise Palestinian statehood, the most recent being Sweden in 2014.

It comes just days after the International Criminial Court applied for arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, for war crimes.

Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Harris said that he was “confident that further countries will join us in taking this important step in the coming weeks”.

He said that a two-state solution, whereby independent Israeli and Palestinian states exist side-by-side, was the “the only credible path to peace and security”.

Referencing the foundation of the Irish state, Mr Harris said “from our own history we know what it means, recognition is an act of powerful political and symbolic value”.

He said that the decision was taken “to offer hope and encouragement to the people of Palestine at one of their darkest hours”.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented assault on Israel on 7 October, with hundreds of gunmen infiltrating communities near the Gaza Strip.

About 1,200 people were killed, and more than 250 were taken to Gaza as hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

More than 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza have so far been killed by the Israeli military in response, Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry says.

Israel Katz

Israel Katz says Ireland’s decision “undermines the chance for peace” [Reuters]

Also on Wednesday morning, Israel announced it would recall its envoys to Ireland and Norway “for urgent consultations”.

“I am sending Ireland and Norway a clear message: Israel will not back down against those who undermine its sovereignty and endanger its security,” foreign minister Israel Katz said.

“Today’s decision sends a message to the Palestinians and the world: terrorism pays,” he said.

“After the Hamas terror organisation carried out the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, after committing heinous sexual crimes witnessed by the world, these countries chose to reward Hamas and Iran by recognizing a Palestinian state,” Mr Katz said.

“This distorted step by these countries is an injustice to the memory of the victims of 7/10, a blow to efforts to return the 128 hostages, and a boost to Hamas and Iran’s jihadists, which undermines the chance for peace and questions Israel’s right to self-defence.”

Addressing the “people of Israel”, Mr Harris said: “Ireland is resolute and unequivocal in recognising the state of Israel and Israel’s right to exist securely and in peace with its neighbours.”

“Let me be clear that Ireland condemns the barbaric massacre carried out by Hamas on 7 October last,” he said.

Mr Harris called for the release of hostages taken by Hamas “to the arms of their loved ones”, but added that “Hamas is not the Palestinian people”.

“A two state solution is the only way out of the generational cycles of violence retribution and resentment,” he said.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said that Ireland’s decision was a “clear and immutable statement of our deeply-held belief that there can be no peace in the Middle East until the Israeli and Palestinian peoples alike enjoy the same rights to self-determination, statehood, peace, security and dignity”.

He added that the move was not “a hostile act towards the state of Israel”.

“We acknowledge the heartbreak, loss and anguish of the Israeli people,” he said.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said that Ireland had “learnt the hard way, that violence against innocent civilians to try and achieve political aims, can, and must never win”.

“Whether that be a car bomb on the streets of Omagh or Jerusalem, be that a rocket landing in Tel Aviv, or a no warning blast in a Birmingham pub, be that an assault on the Kibbutz, or a bomb dropped from a jet fighter onto a refugee camp or a Gaza hospital, it is all wrong,” he said.

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