Israeli ambassador recalled as Taoiseach announces Ireland will recognise state of Palestine

Israeli ambassador recalled as Taoiseach announces Ireland will recognise state of Palestine

THE ISRAELI ambassador to Ireland has been recalled after Taoiseach Simon Harris announced today that Ireland will recognise the state of Palestine.

Dana Erlich's counterparts in Norway and Spain have also been recalled to Israel after the countries joined Ireland in the historic move.

Simon Harris said today's announcement reflected Ireland's 'unequivocal support' for a two-state solution.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labelled the move 'a reward for terrorism'.

'Historic and important day'

Speaking this morning, Mr Harris drew comparisons between Palestine and Ireland's own struggle for independence.

"This is an historic and an important day for Ireland and for Palestine," he said.

"On the 21st of January 1919 Ireland asked the world to recognise our right to be an independent State.

"Our 'Message to the Free Nations of the World' was a plea for international recognition of our independence, emphasising our distinct national identity, our historical struggle, and our right to self-determination and justice.

"Today we use the same language to support the recognition of Palestine as a State.

"We do so because we 'believe in freedom and justice as the fundamental principles of international law', and because we believe that 'permanent peace' can only be secured 'upon the basis of the free will of a free people'.

"Taking our place on the world stage — and being recognised by others as having the right to be there — was a matter of the highest importance for the founders of our State.

"From our history, we know what it means."

He added: "Just as Ireland's recognition as a state eventually led to the establishment of our peaceful Republic, we believe that Palestinian statehood will contribute to peace and to reconciliation in the Middle East."

Mr Harris stressed that the decision was not indicative of support for Hamas, who have 'nothing to offer but pain and suffering to Israelis and Palestinians alike'.

He condemned the October 7 attacks — as well as extremist Zionism 'that fuels settler violence and illegal appropriation of land in the West Bank' — and reiterated Ireland's recognition of the state of Israel and its right to exist in peace.

However, he said that a lack of progress towards a two-state solution was a factor in today's announcement.

"We have previously said that recognition is a step that we would ideally have taken as part of a process towards [a two-state solution]," he said.

"However, we are three decades after the Oslo process and perhaps further than ever from a just, sustainable and comprehensive peace settlement.

"Our decision to recognise Palestine should not have to wait indefinitely, especially when it is the right thing to do."

'Terrorist state' 

Responding to today's announcement, Mr Netenyahu claimed it would embolden Hamas and lead to further attacks like that in October.

"The intention of several European countries to recognize a Palestinian state is a reward for terrorism," he tweeted.

"80% of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria support the terrible massacre of October 7.

"This evil cannot be given a state. This would be a terrorist state. It will try to repeat the massacre of October 7 again and again; we will not consent to this.

"Rewarding terrorism will not bring peace and neither will it stop us from defeating Hamas."

Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called today's move a 'distorted step' and a 'folly', adding that he would order the Irish, Norwegian and Spanish ambassadors to Israel to watch footage reportedly showing Hamas kidnappings.

"I issued a severe Démarche for the ambassadors of Spain, Ireland, and Norway in Israel following their governments' decision to award a gold medal to Hamas terrorists who kidnapped our daughters and burned infants," he tweeted.

"During the Démarche, the ambassadors will watch a video of the brutal and cruel kidnapping of our daughters by Hamas terrorists, to emphasize the distorted decision their governments have made."

Addressing the heads of the respective countries, he added: "Look into the eyes of our daughters!"