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22 May, 2024 07:36

Ireland confirms imminent recognition of Palestine

Three European nations are moving forward on the issue of statehood, drawing anger from Israel
Ireland confirms imminent recognition of Palestine

Ireland will formally recognize Palestine as a state, Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Simon Harris has confirmed. He was commenting on reports that his country will join Norway and Spain in taking the step.

The Norwegian government announced that it will recognize Palestinian statehood as of next week, while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanches told the lower chamber of the national parliament on Wednesday that Madrid will also formally recognize the Palestinian state from Tuesday.

Harris said the three countries are coordinating the policy changes, in what he described as “an historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine.” He expressed hope that the decisions will help push the Arab-Israeli conflict towards a resolution through a two-state solution.

West Jerusalem has reacted to the developments in Europe by recalling its ambassadors from Ireland and Norway. Foreign Minister Israel Katz claimed that recognition of Palestinian statehood amounts to rewarding terrorism, and declared that the Jewish state “will not remain silent in the face of those undermining its sovereignty and endangering its security.” 

The top diplomat added that “the Irish-Norwegian folly does not deter us,” and warned of “further severe consequences,” including for Spain, if it follows through on its pledge.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly vowed to prevent Palestinian statehood. Israel is in de facto control of large swaths of lands predominantly inhabited by Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority, which is internationally recognized as representing the interests of the Palestinian people, has some say on what happens in the West Bank. Gaza, a separate Palestinian enclave, has long been controlled by Hamas, a rival militant group. Hamas orchestrated a deadly raid into southern Israel last October, triggering a large-scale Israeli military retaliation which has yet to be concluded.

Critics of the Netanyahu government say it does not appear to have a plan for Gaza after it achieves its stated goal of eliminating Hamas. The Jewish state is increasingly being accused of trying to ethnically cleanse the blockaded territory.

The initial Hamas raid resulted in some 1,200 deaths in Israel and dozens of hostages being taken back to Gaza. The death toll in the enclave as a result of the Israeli response is estimated to have surpassed 35,000, according to local health officials.