We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Taoiseach Simon Harris speaking on Wednesday during a press conference when Ireland recognised the state of Palestine. Alamy Stock Photo

Taoiseach ‘Parading ambassadors in front of TV cameras in Israel was unacceptable’

Simon Harris said he made it known to Israel that this was ‘unacceptable and unnecessary’.


IRELAND WILL FORMALLY recognise the State of Palestine from next Tuesday, 28 May.

We will recognise Palestine’s sovereign right to exist with all of the benefits and responsibilities that gives a nation and its people on the world stage.

The government has made this decision on behalf of the Irish people, but we do so with the heaviest of hearts because of the ongoing death, suffering and destruction in Gaza.

This is not how we had planned, or hoped, to recognise a Palestinian state. Our programmes for government since 2016 sought to do so as part of a lasting settlement of the conflict in the Middle East.

Some critics of our decision say it is premature to recognise now. To them, I say Ireland is in fact acting before it is too late. Ireland is moving before the chance of a two-state solution is bombed to oblivion.

There may never have been a perfect time to recognise but the call I have made as Taoiseach is that there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.

Recognising the State of Palestine at this time, in order to keep the two-state solution alive, is the right thing to do.  

International partners

Ireland is not alone, we have moved in lockstep with our partners in Spain and Norway. I have held long and detailed discussions with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre about doing it now. We are united.

Madrid, Oslo and Dublin are respected voices on the Middle East with long histories of working for peace. We will not be the first states to recognise Palestine, and I am certain we will not be the last.  

I hope that our recognition gives a sense of momentum. The State of Israel loses nothing by us recognising the State of Palestine.

Instead, it is a positive step towards peace because what is happening now cannot continue. It is time for the world to find the courage of our convictions. We need to stand by international law.

We need to stand by human rights and that means children in Israel and children in Palestine having a right to live safely side by side in peace and security.

Respect for Israel

To Israel, I say Ireland is resolute and unequivocal in fully recognising the State of Israel and Israel’s right to exist securely and in peace with its neighbours.

Let me be clear that Ireland condemns Hamas as a terrorist organisation with no good to give to the world. Let me clear that Ireland calls for Israeli hostages to be immediately returned to the arms of their loved ones.

I beg those in Gaza holding hostages to return them home, it is not too late for you to do the right thing.

Hamas is not the Palestinian people just like the IRA was not the Irish people.

The biggest critics, and those most horrified by the atrocities of the IRA, were inside Ireland and I know the most comprehensive way to defeat Hamas is within a sovereign and functioning Palestine.

Trust us in Ireland, with our neighbours and friends in the UK by our side, when we say this; you cannot allow death and horrific acts continue to unfold and become normal. You cannot heal while the bombings continue.

We need a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire followed by peace. We need an immediate emergency international operation in Gaza to save lives from further injury and disease.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, listen to the world. Please stop. A full-scale military operation in Rafah will be a catastrophe.

There will be children and innocent civilians who are alive today who will die in the violence. Too many have died already.

I know a day will come when Israel and Palestine will recognise each other’s states in a peace agreement. I know today that seems a long way off and some even say it is impossible.

However, I know that the same was said of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

The International community must make the UN Charter relevant to a lasting peace. Ireland will play its part.

Ireland will also continue to treat the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland and embassy in Dublin with respect and dignity.

We fully expect the same for those serving our country in Israel. The parading of ambassadors in front of TV cameras in Israel was unacceptable and unnecessary. We have made that known.

Ireland will recognise the State of Palestine on Tuesday with absolute clarity of mind that it is the right thing to do for the miracle of peace to remain possible.

Simon Harris is the Taoiseach of Ireland.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.