Ireland expected to be first in new wave of governments recognizing Palestinian state
Waed Shnaino from Gaza marches in Dublin city centre during a march to Leinster House in support of Palestinians in Dublin, Ireland, Jan. 27, 2024. | Brian Lawless / PA via AP

Ireland’s newly-elected and youngest-ever Prime Minister, Simon Harris, confirmed that one of his new government’s first official acts will be to grant official recognition to the State of Palestine.

“Ireland will shortly recognize the state of Palestine,” affirmed Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin. “Be in no doubt full recognition of a Palestinian state will happen.”

Martin disclosed that he has been in discussions for the past six months with ministerial colleagues of other governments concerning how “a joint formal recognition of Palestinian statehood could be a catalyst to help the people of Gaza and the West Bank and in furthering an Arab-led peace initiative.”

Given how Israel has undermined the Oslo Accords with its war on Gaza, he said that putting off the creation of a Palestinian state until after an Israeli-Palestinian agreement is reached “is not credible or tenable any longer.”

Martin declared he is “not in any doubt that war crimes have been committed by Israeli occupation forces” and condemned “the ongoing bombardment of the Gazan people.”

He gave no timetable but agreed with comments that recognition could come “within weeks.”

Without naming them, Martin said that the Irish government has been working with numerous other nations on the issue and that they should be expected to follow suit with recognition. At the recent EU summit, he met with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Slovenia, Malta, and Belgium in private sessions on “issues concerning recognition.”

The expected wave of recognitions, as well as signals that the U.S. is no longer able to insert itself into peace talks, is seen as body blows to the U.S. policy of uncritical support for Israel and its attempts to push any discussion of a new Palestinian state off until a future “final resolution” of Middle East issues by international bodies.

Ireland, in coordination with South Africa, has pushed to designate Israel’s occupation of Palestine as “apartheid” and have it taken up by the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Six hundred Irish academics have issued a joint letter calling for the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador to Ireland.

The plan to recognize Palestine is widely popular in Ireland, supported by 76% of the people in a recent poll. All major political parties have now joined the left-wing Sein Finn’s earlier call for recognition of Palestine and overall support for the Palestinian cause.

“In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians”—that was the chant which echoed regularly at a recent Sein Finn party conference in Dublin. A series of massive marches in the capital and other Irish cities mirrored solidarity demonstrations across Europe in recent weeks.

Public sentiment for Palestine is fed by the historic memory of 800 years of struggling for a free state while under British colonial rule.

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Bruce Bostick
Bruce Bostick

Bruce Bostick is a retired steelworker and leader in Ohio Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees.