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Ireland, Norway and Spain Officially Recognize State of Palestine

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The decision of the Irish government to recognize Palestinian statehood has now taken formal effect more than 40 years after Ireland first called for a Palestinian state. The country's prime minister has urged other European nations to follow Ireland's example soon, as Willem Marx reports from Dublin.

WILLEM MARX, BYLINE: Ireland's cabinet met on Tuesday morning to give legal effect to a decision that had finally been announced last week. Ireland's prime minister, or taoiseach, Simon Harris, said it was an historic and important moment. But he also insisted the European Union, of which Ireland is a member, should do what he termed a hell of a lot more to support Palestinian rights and ensure a cease-fire in Gaza. Later in the morning, a Palestinian flag was hoisted above the Irish parliament before lawmakers began an hourslong discussion of this momentous decision. Among those leading the debate was the Irish foreign minister, Micheal Martin, who said Tuesday's action by Ireland, Spain and Norway may drive more countries to follow in the near future.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MICHEAL MARTIN: I am confident that there is a growing consensus among like-minded partners that Palestinian statehood can no longer wait until the end of a process of final settlement negotiations between the parties. I anticipate that other European partners may decide to recognize Palestine in the coming weeks and months.

MARX: Malta and Slovenia have recently said they'll consider that step, too. But in Ireland it's a visceral, national sense of history that strengthens support for Palestinians. Ireland was long occupied by the British, and so the past informs the present, says Sinn Fein's Daithi Doolan.

DAITHI DOOLAN: The Irish people know all too well what it's like to be colonized and to live with the colonizer. We also know what it's like to have a peace process, to bring peace to this part of the island. And I think if you see across the EU, we're the only EU country not to occupy another country. So our history is one with the colonized, not the colonizer, with the oppressed, not the oppressor.

MARX: Israel has denounced Ireland's decision and withdrawn its ambassador from Dublin. But the top Palestinian diplomat here, Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid, says it represents significant progress for a physical Palestinian state.

JILAN WAHBA ABDALMAJID: We're going forward. We're not going backward. And the forward means that more countries to recognize the state of Palestine, to recognize the rights of the Palestinians to self-determination.

MARX: It took centuries for Ireland to win that right to fully independent self-determination. Many Irish are hoping it will happen far faster than that for the Palestinians. For NPR News, I'm Willem Marx in Dublin. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Willem Marx
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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