Ireland’s recognition of Palestine

Responding to public pressure

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

Sir, – I thoroughly agree with Taoiseach Simon Harris that the EU could be doing a “hell of a lot more” to exert pressure on Israel for a ceasefire in Gaza (News, May 28th), but so could our own Government .

Responding to massive public pressure, the Government has scrambled to convince voters that it is taking action.

Its response to South Africa’s case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) moved from initial stonewalling to a public declaration that the Government will intervene to support the case.

It followed this with announcements about their lobbying to build EU consensus to suspend the Israeli state from the Euro-Med Trade Agreement, and for recognition of a Palestinian state. In both instances, Government figures sign-posted the inevitability that such initiatives would be blocked by certain governments which back the Israeli state unconditionally.

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Under mounting pressure to enact the Illegal Israeli Settlements Divestment Bill, the Government instead had the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) divest from six complicit Israeli companies, citing “risk appetite”. And yet, the Government continues to thwart both this Bill and the Occupied Territories Bill.

Will this week’s recognition of a Palestinian state mark the beginning of a series of concrete steps to end the genocide? Or is it yet another empty political gesture?

The Government is throwing shapes for all that it is worth. I am not sure that the electorate will be so easily persuaded. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN Ó ÉIGEARTAIGH,

Donnybrook,

Dublin 4.

A chara, – The announcement today by the Taoiseach of formal recognition of Palestine is a very welcome gesture.

But for this move to have any real effect it must be followed up with real measures. The Government must immediately enact the Occupied Territories Bill, it must introduce sanctions against Israel, and must block the US military use of Shannon Airport to supply Israel.

The latest horrific images from Rafah make these measures imperative. – Is mise,

ART Ó LAOGHAIRE,

Bray,

Co Wicklow.

Sir, – How utterly ironic that on the day the Dáil formally recognises the Palestinian state, the Gaza portion of which continues to be overseen and controlled by a proscribed terrorist group, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee brings to Cabinet plans to extend the anti-terrorism Offences against the State Act. Apparently, the Minister’s view is that such threats are real, not just from dissident republicans, but from “violent extremism and international terrorism”.

Hamas, which has the ability, capability and resources to fire rockets across the frontier into Israel, is backed by several “rogue states”, and continues to voice its ideological hatred of the Jewish state and its people.

On May 28th, on his way into Leinster House, Taoiseach Simon Harris said that “Europe could be doing a lot more in relation to Gaza”.

Might the Taoiseach be uttering some regret at the impetuous move by just two EU countries? – Yours, etc,

PETER DECLAN O’HALLORAN,

Belturbet,

Co Cavan.

Sir, – The flying of the flag of any foreign entity over our national parliament building strikes me as inappropriate and offensive. – Yours, etc,

CONAN KENNEDY,

Killala,

Co Mayo.