Ireland Set to Move on Palestinian Recognition Today

Wed May 22 2024
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LONDON, UK: The Irish government is expected to formally recognize a Palestinian state today (Wednesday), media reported.

Leaders of European Union member states were due to hold a press conference at 8:00 a.m. (07:00 GMT) after earlier indicating that Ireland would recognize Palestinian statehood by the end of the month.

National public broadcaster RTE and the Irish Times said it was understood the decision would be announced at a press conference.

Israel’s foreign ministry posted a video message to Ireland on social media platform X, warning that “recognizing a Palestinian state risks making you a pawn in the hands of Iran and Hamas”, adding that the move would “only encourage extremism and instability”.

The expected announcement by Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris, Deputy Prime Minister Micheal Martin and Minister Eamon Ryan comes after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said last week he would announce a date for Palestinian state recognition on Wednesday.

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Sanchez said in March that Spain and Ireland, along with Slovenia and Malta, had agreed to take the first steps to recognize a Palestinian state alongside Israel, seeing the two-state solution as essential to lasting peace.

Israel said the plans to recognize the Palestinians constitute a “prize for terrorism” that would reduce the chances of a negotiated solution to the Gaza war, which began on October 7 when Hamas militants invaded southern Israel.

For decades, formal recognition of a Palestinian state was seen as the end of the peace process between the Palestinians and their Israeli neighbours.

The United States and most Western European countries have said they are willing to one day recognize Palestinian statehood, but not before agreement is reached on thorny issues such as the final borders and status of Jerusalem.

But after the October 7 attacks by Hamas and Israel’s retaliatory campaign in Gaza, diplomats are reconsidering the once-controversial ideas.

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In 2014, Sweden, which has a large Palestinian community, became the first EU member in Western Europe to recognize Palestinian statehood.

It has already been recognized by six other European countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania.

The October 7 Hamas attack resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to AFP statistics based on Israeli official figures.

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Hamas also captured 252 hostages, of whom 124 remain in Gaza, including 37 dead according to the army.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 35,647 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-ruled territory’s health ministry.

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