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.


Harris says moment of recognising the state of Palestine is 'very close'

The Taoiseach says more EU countries are interested in moving in tandem with Spain and Ireland.


TAOISEACH SIMON HARRIS has said the moment of recognising the state of Palestine is “very close”.

Speaking in Brussels on the second day of the special EU Council meeting, the Taoiseach said that after speaking to a number of EU leaders he believes “there’s a number of member states of the European Union who do wish to recognise the state of Palestine”.

“I expect the moment of recognition is getting very close. I would like to see if there’s a number of other countries who wish to do it at the same time as Spain and Ireland and I think the indications are positive in relation to that. It’s not yet possible to put a number on it because different member states would have different processes,” said Harris.

Speaking to reporters this morning, he said it was not for him to name the other countries that might be considering it, but after conversations he had last night, Harris said he certainly thinks a number share Ireland’s perspective. 

At last night’s event, Harris called for an immediate ceasefire in Palestine and the release of hostages. He also told leaders that it is not enough to just call for an increase in humanitarian aid but that there also needs to be unhindered access throughout Gaza and that Israel must facilitate this as required by the ICJ.

He said the only way to achieve lasting peace and stability in the region is through a two state solution with Israeli and Palestinian States living side-by-side in peace and security, and urged the EU to use all levers at its disposal to help bring this about.

He said it is very important that the European Union gets back to placing front and centre the idea that resolving the situation is through a political process.


Last night, EU leaders reiterated its commitment to working to end the crisis in Gaza without delay and to implement UN Security Council resolution 2728, which includes:

  • reaching an immediate ceasefire
  • releasing all hostages unconditionally
  • providing full, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian aid to Palestinians in need

“I welcome the language that has been agreed around ‘ceasefire’, not pause but ‘a ceasefire’. I think that is important,” he said. 

Harris said the special European Council meeting is happening against a difficult geopolitical backdrop, which will be dominated by discussions around Iran, Israel, and Lebanon.

European Union leaders agreed last night to impose new sanctions on Iran’s drone and missile producers over Tehran’s attack on Israel.

“We have decided to put in place sanctions against Iran, it is a clear signal that we wanted to send,” the European Council president said at an EU summit in Brussels.

“The idea is to target the companies that are needed for the drones, for the missiles,” said EU chief Charles Michel said.

Iran sanctions

Iran launched an unprecedented drone and missile onslaught over the weekend against Israel, which caused little damage after most of the projectiles were intercepted.

Last night Harris said he supported further sanctions on Iran, stating that Ireland has condemned the actions of Iran, stating it was a “large-scale, reckless attack and we need to see now de-escalation.”

“Anything other than de-escalation and restraint results in very significant catastrophes and bloodshed for many millions of people in a region that is already unstable,” the  Taoiseach said yesterday evening. 

He said he hoped European leaders can use their voices and endeavor to try and arrive at a common voice, calling for restraint.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin urged Israel not to respond to Iran’s attack that saw around 300 drones and missiles fired at the weekend.

There are fears it could lead to an escalation of the conflict in the Middle East as Israel prepares for a military offensive on Rafah in southern Gaza.

Martin said the threat of escalation in the Middle East “could not get more serious”.

“Regional escalation has the potential to really undermine and obstruct trade routes, which impacts people in terms of food and in terms of the basic essentials of life, so it could not get more serious.

“We’re saying to Israel not to respond to Iran’s attack and we’re saying to both sides to de-escalate,” Martin said yesterday.

UN Member State status

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council will reportedly vote today on conferring full member state status on the state of Palestine, diplomatic sources have told the AFP news agency. 

Palestine currently has observer state status but and there have been unsuccessful attempts to gain full recognition in the past. 

“We are seeking admission. That is our natural and legal right,” Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, said in April.

The main obstacle remains the Security Council veto power of the United States, Israel’s closest ally. 

The General Assembly can admit a new member state with a two-thirds majority vote, but only after the Security Council gives its recommendation.

Regional bloc the Arab Group issued a statement on Tuesday affirming its “unwavering support” for the Palestinians’ application.

“Membership in the United Nations is a crucial step in the right direction towards a just and lasting resolution of the Palestinian question in line with international law and relevant UN resolutions,” the statement said.

Algeria, a non-permanent Security Council member, has drafted the resolution that “recommends” to the General Assembly “the State of Palestine be admitted to membership of the United Nations.”

The US has said that recognition of statehood should come from negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, not at the UN. 

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan has strongly opposed the Palestinian membership bid, saying in mid-April the considerations were “already a victory for genocidal terror.”

Includes reporting from David Mac Redmond and AFP