Harris: Ireland is moving closer to formally recognising the state of Palestine

Ireland is moving closer to formally recognising the state of Palestine but the Taoiseach has refused to confirm the date this will take place.

Simon Harris said he has spoken to his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez this week and they have formed a “clear plan” to recognise Palestinian statehood.

The two leaders have been in regular contact about appealing to other European states to sign up to their plan for a joint declaration recognising Palestine.

Mr Harris said they have a “clear plan”.

Pedro Sanchez visit to Ireland
Taoiseach Simon Harris, left, and Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I’m in regular contact with the Tanaiste (Micheal Martin) and the leader of the Green Party, Minister (Eamon) Ryan.

“There is never a wrong time to do the right thing. The right thing to do right now is to recognise the state of Palestine.

“Why do we do that? We do that because we must keep the hope and the destination of a two-state solution firmly to the fore. That is how you resolve this conflict in the Middle East and that is how you bring stability to the region.

“Ireland recognises the state of Israel, its right to security, peace and Ireland wishes to recognise the state of Palestine and wishes to see those two states live side by side.

“Myself and Prime Minister Sanchez have an understanding that we won’t put into the public domain a specific date and that’s for a very straightforward reason because there’s still conversations ongoing with other leaders of other countries and I intend to have further conversations with other leaders of other European countries.

“But as I’ve said, as the Tanaiste says, as Mr Ryan says, the time is coming closer to do the right thing, for Ireland to show leadership with a number of other countries in terms of taking forward the two-state solution proposal which has to recognise the existence of two states.”

Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan said that more than 14,000 children have been killed in Gaza by Israeli authorities.

“Israel is slaughtering people in their tens of thousands and still the world sits idly by, entirely absent from implementing any sanctions, or even threat of sanctions from the European Union,” the Dublin Bay North TD said.

“From the outset, the EU has not just acquiesced the carnage, it has been complicit, there has yet to be a joint statement from EU leaders in which Israel’s barbarism is even mildly criticised.

“I acknowledge and welcome that Ireland (and) a minority of other EU member states, have been calling for action. But it’s now three months since the former Taoiseach (Leo Varadkar) and the Spanish prime minister wrote to the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to request an urgent review of the EU-Israel trade deal.

“As far as we know, von der Leyen has not even bothered to reply to that letter, never mind review or suspend the deal.”

Tanaiste Micheal Martin said the death toll and the horrors unfolding in the Gaza Strip are “quite shocking”.

He told the Dail there are currently 17,000 unaccompanied children in Gaza.

He added: “When I visited Rafah, we saw CT scanners that were denied access which were being donated, a lot of other hospital equipment being denied access by the Israeli authorities on the grounds of dual use.

“A green sleeping bag denied because it could be used as a camouflage, a children’s education pack denied because it included small scissors, croissants with chocolate, orange juice denied because they were considered luxury items.

“It is unbelievable what has been denied to the people of Palestine in Gaza by the Israeli authorities, given the enormity of the starvation and hunger that people are experiencing.

“I’m clear that the people of Gaza are being collectively punished.

“Israeli has obligations in terms of facilitating full, safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian aid into and throughout the Gaza.

“We have been clear that all restrictions of the work of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) and other humanitarian groups must be immediately lifted.”

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