Ireland to formally recognise Palestinian state

Ireland is to formally recognise a Palestinian state on Tuesday in a joint move with Norway and Spain.

The Palestinian flag is to be flown over the home of the Irish parliament, Leinster House, and four hours are set aside in the Irish parliament’s lower chamber to hear TDs’ statements.

Ireland will recognise a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, the culmination of months of diplomatic work that began in December.

The Palestinian Mission in Ireland is to be upgraded to an embassy and a Palestinian ambassador to Ireland will be appointed.

Ireland will upgrade its Representative Office of Ireland in Ramallah to an embassy, and redesignate the Irish Representative to Palestine as the Ambassador of Ireland to the State of Palestine.

The current ambassador in Dublin Dr Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid said the move “gives hope” and said it was “the right time” to recognise a Palestinian state.

“I am looking forward to seeing the flag flying on Leinster House. It’s a big moment,” she said.

Israel’s foreign affairs minister Israel Katz reacted to the planned recognition by issuing a “severe demarche” to the Irish, Spanish and Norwegian ambassadors to Israel.

Irish premier Simon Harris criticised Israel’s treatment of Ireland’s ambassador Sonya McGuinness, who was shown footage in front of Israeli media in a manner said to be “outside the norm” of how diplomats are treated.

Mr Harris and other government ministers have denied claims that the move would “reward” terrorism, stating that it was being done to offer hope to Palestinians amid months of a humanitarian crisis in the enclave and put an emphasis on peace.

“Ireland was very clear last week when we announced along with Norway and Spain our intention to recognise the state of Palestine, why we were doing it, what it was and what it was not,” Mr Harris said on Monday.

“We believe in the state of Israel, in the state of Palestine, living side by side in peace and stability.”

He added: “Quite frankly, I think many people in Israel, many people in Palestine, many people the world over, are able to differentiate between the people of Israel and the Netanyahu government. I certainly am able to differentiate between the two, just like we can differentiate between right and wrong.”