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A protester draped i a Palestinian flag demonstrates outside the Dáil. Alamy Stock Photo
Two-State Solution

Ireland may recognise the State of Palestine if joined by other EU countries

As it stands, 139 of the 195 United Nations member states already recognise the State of Palestine.

IRELAND MAY JOIN other EU member states in officially recognising the State of Palestine, in order to lay the groundwork for a “more equal” negotiation over a potential two-state solution with Israel, the Taoiseach has said. 

Speaking to reporters at an EU leaders summit in Brussels, Leo Varadkar said that while the genocide case taken by South Africa against Israel at the International Court of Justice was “on the agenda”, discussions were also being held on possibly recognising Palestine as a state.

Varadkar said that “a number of EU states acting together to recognise Palestine could enable a more equal negotiation to happen, after the war has ended in Gaza, in around a two state solution”. 

A similar statement was made earlier this week by UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron, who said Palestinians need “a political horizon so that they can see that there is going to be irreversible progress to a two-state solution”. 

Getting EU member states on board with a move to recognise Palestinian statehood will likely prove a arduous diplomatic task. 

Varadkar said that opinions on the conflict in Gaza are “diverse” and that countries view issues related to Israel and Palestine based on their national histories. 

“We need to understand that we see things in a particular way, for various reasons. Germany, Austria, see things in the context of the events in 1940s. Other countries that have experienced attacks from Islamic fundamentalist groups, allies of Hamas, obviously see things in different way too,” he said. 

What all member states do agree on is the need for a two-state solution once the fighting has ended, he said. 

However, that will also prove to be a difficult undertaking since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressly ruled out a two-state solution. 

As it stands, 139 of the 195 United Nations member states already recognise the State of Palestine while 165 recognise Israel. 

In terms of the EU, nine member states have recognised Palestine, most of whom are in Eastern Europe and did so prior to joining the bloc while part of the Soviet Union. In 2014, Sweden became the first country to recognise Palestine while being a member of the EU. 

A bill recognising Palestinian statehood passed successfully through both the Seanad and the Dáil in 2014 but the Government has yet to follow through on it, instead wishing to do so in coordination with other EU states. 

2014 was the year that saw the last major Israeli assault on Gaza, which killed more than 2,000 people, mostly civilians.