Taoiseach outlines Ireland’s intention to recognise Palestine in call with Israeli president

Pair spoke by phone on Friday ahead of Ireland’s expected recognition of Palestine next week

Taoiseach Simon Harris has outlined Ireland’s intention to recognise the state of Palestine in a call with the President of Israel Yitzhak Herzog.

The pair spoke by phone on Friday and the contact comes as Ireland and some other European countries including Spain are preparing to recognise the Palestinian state. Senior Government figures have said Ireland’s recognition of Palestine will happen by the end of May.

A Government statement said that Mr Harris “set out the Government’s position on Gaza clearly, especially Ireland’s wish to see an immediate ceasefire and urgent and unhindered access for humanitarian aid.

“He expressed deep concern about the potential for catastrophe in Rafah.”


There have been fears for weeks for the safety of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Rafah if Israel invades the city as part of its bid to destroy Hamas.

Israel faces pressure from the United States, Europe and the United Nations not to send its troops into the city.

The Government statement said that Mr Harris “expressed the view that peace and security for Israel and Palestine can only be built on a two-state solution.

“He also outlined Ireland’s intention to recognise the State of Palestine.”

The statement added: “The Taoiseach made clear Ireland’s abhorrence of Hamas and Ireland’s support for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages.”

The two leaders are said to have “agreed to stay in touch”.

Israel’s ambassador to Ireland Dana Erlich has previously criticised Ireland’s plan to recognise Palestine.

She argued last month: “A unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state at this point sends a dangerous signal to Hamas and its supporters, since it will be viewed as rewarding terrorism.”

Ireland, and countries including Spain, have indicated that they will recognise Palestine as part of efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.

Last week Mr Harris said: “There is never a wrong time to do the right thing and 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 forefront. You cannot say you believe in a two-state solution and not recognise that there are two states.”

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

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin this week confirmed recognition would happen within the next two weeks.

He told the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs: “we need to move on the formal recognition of the Palestinian state. After intensive discussions with European and Arab partners we will do so before the end of this month.”

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times