Government announce recognition of State of Palestine

Recognition of the state was also declared by Norway and Spain, with other European countries expected to follow

Government has announced it is to recognise Palestine as a state, alongside Norway and Spain.

Taoiseach Simon Harris made the announcement at a press conference outside Government Buildings this morning alongside Tánaiste Micheál Martin and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan.

Speaking on the decision, Harris said: “This is a historic and important day.”

“In January 1919, Ireland issued a message to the free nations of the world asking for recognition of its right to self-determination.”

“Today, we use the same language to recognise Palestine as a state,” he continued.

Harris explained that whilst Ireland had “hoped to recognise Palestine as part of a two-state peace deal” alongside its existing recognition of the State of Israel, the motivation behind Ireland’s decision to recognise Palestine in this moment was to “keep the hope of that two-state solution alive”. 

Harris added: “Both the Palestinian and Israeli people are inherently kind and decent.”

“The only way to stop war and death is by tapping into those qualities in both nations.”

Martin called the recognition of the Palestinian state a “historic moment for Ireland”.

“It is a clear and immutable statement of our deeply-held belief that there can be no peace in the Middle East until the Israeli and Palestinian peoples alike enjoy the same rights to self-determination, statehood, peace, security and dignity,” he said.

Around the same time, similar declarations of recognition for the State of Palestine were made by Norwegian prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez.

The three countries’ recognition of Palestine will take effect on May 28, following the clearance of respective legislative and executive processes in each country.

Harris and Sanchez indicated their expectation of other European countries to follow in recognition of Palestine in the coming days and weeks.

In March, both leaders were signatories of a joint statement alongside the heads of government in Malta and Slovenia, affirming their states’ “readiness” to recognise Palestine.

Discussions are understood to have taken place between governments in Ireland, Spain, Slovenia and Malta in recent weeks on plans to jointly recognise Palestine on the same day.

Reacting to the joint announcements of recognition of Palestine, the Israeli government has recalled its ambassadors from Ireland and Norway for “consultations”.

In a post on X/Twitter, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said: “I’m sending a clear and unequivocal message to Ireland and Norway: Israel will not remain silent in the face of those undermining its sovereignty and endangering its security.”

The recognition of Palestinian statehood by Ireland, Norway and Spain comes as part of growing international pressure on Israel amidst the ongoing genocide in Gaza, which has seen more than 35,000 Palestinians killed since the outbreak of war following the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7 last year.

On Monday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it would seek arrest warrants for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defence minister Yoav Gallant on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as warrants for three Hamas leaders.

Evan Skidmore O’Reilly

Evan Skidmore O’Reilly is News Co-Editor for the 70th volume of Trinity News. He is a former Deputy News Editor, and is a current final year Business and Politics student.