Ireland approves resolution urging recognition of Palestine

The Irish parliament recognized the state of Palestine, becoming the latest European Union member approving a non-binding parliamentary motion seeking recognition of the Arab country’s statehood. (File photo: AFP)

The Irish parliament approved a nonbinding resolution calling on the government to formally recognize the state of Palestine, becoming the latest European Union member to approve a non-binding parliamentary motion seeking recognition of the Palestinian state.

It comes after Ireland’s foreign minister offered on Wednesday his conditional support for an idea bitterly opposed by Israel.

“Achieving and recognizing a Palestinian state has always been the objective of the Irish government. Everything we do in the Middle East is directed towards that aim,” the Associated Press reported Charlie Flanagan as telling a virtually empty parliamentary chamber, with barely a dozen lawmakers present in the 166-seat chamber.

He added: “While successive governments have always seen recognition coming as part of an agreed peace, I’ve made it clear that I’ve absolutely no difficulty in principle with the idea of early recognition, if I believe it can contribute to achieving a settlement of the conflict. The present stalemate is not acceptable to me.”

Most represented the opposition Sinn Fein, an Irish nationalist party with strong Palestinian links. The Palestinian ambassador to Ireland, Ahmad Abdelrazek, watched the debate from the visitors’ gallery above.

Lawmakers in Britain, France and Spain already have passed similar motions calling on their governments to follow Sweden, which on Oct. 30 ignited debate by recognizing Palestinian statehood officially.

Flanagan credited Sweden with inspiring the entire 28-nation EU to open talks Nov. 26 in Brussels seeking a possible alliance-wide endorsement of Palestinian statehood.

But he said Ireland still hoped to make the move as part of a wider Israeli-Palestinian accord,  or unilaterally in advance of achieving an EU consensus.

Following the announcement, Israel slammed the symbolic move by the country’s parliament to recognize the state of Palestine.

Foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon expressed disappointment Thursday at the decision, accusing non-binding resolution the Irish parliament of giving voice to “statements of hatred and Anti-Semitism directed at Israel in a way which we have not heard before.”

Israel argues that nations which confer full diplomatic legitimacy on the Palestinian Authority discourage it from engaging in direct talks. Sweden became the 135th of the world's 193 nations to recognize the Palestinian state.

(With the Associated Press)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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