The implications of Ireland recognising Palestine

A reward for Hamas or a step toward peace?

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

Sir, – It is scarcely surprising that Binyamin Netanyahu and Israeli representatives were so scathing in response to Ireland, Spain and Norway joining the many countries – mainly in the “global south” – who have already agreed to recognise the state of Palestine. On May 10th, 143 of the 193 countries represented in the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in favour of the state of Palestine joining the UN. Only nine voted against, including Israel and the United States.

However, as recently as January, Mr Netanyahu restated his consistently dismissive attitude to the “two-state solution”, alleging that the security of Israel would be endangered by a Palestinian state. His opposition to Palestinian statehood in the future is backed by many in his government, which in practice has encouraged the continued illegal influx into the West Bank of Israeli colonial settlers.

Israel currently appears to believe that whatever emerges in the long-term should not involve national sovereignty for the Palestinian people. If so, then the only logical outcome is a “one-state solution”. – Yours, etc,




Co Dublin.

Sir, – Any reasonable person will accept that Palestinian statehood, resulting from a two-state settlement and existing alongside an equally secure Israel, is correct, just, and legally coherent. However, what Ireland has recognised is not a Palestinian state, but a Palestinian theory. What’s more, it is an imprecise theory with no reasonable mechanism for its realisation. There is no concrete agreement on the territorial basis of a Palestinian state, its capital, how it will coexist with Israeli infrastructural and security concerns, etc. There isn’t even an agreed Palestinian leadership capable of speaking with a single voice.

Prior to recognition, Ireland should have demanded that the Palestine it was recognising was a unitary state that, at the very least, recognised Israel’s right to exist and was committed to an honest process of democratisation and growth in compliance with the rule of law. What Ireland has done, instead of retaining control over the conditions that would lead to recognition, is write a blank cheque to terrorists to define the ultimate political, geographical, and judicial personality of that state. It has not just failed to punish terrorism and illiberal brutality, but has encouraged it as a legitimate means of gaining international legitimacy.

Consequently, Ireland, by failing to demand a democratic, consolidated, and unitary authority as a condition for formal recognition, has recognised a three-state solution; with different and competing authorities speaking for Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the Gaza Strip, respectively. Ireland has given legitimacy to a dictatorship in the West Bank, one that has not held a parliamentary or presidential election for almost two decades, and a terrorist regime in Gaza that has sworn itself to the destruction of both Israel and all internal opposition. Hardly the building blocks of a successful, democratic state. And Ireland should not be ashamed to condition recognition on democratic principles. Democracy, after all, should be the birthright of every Palestinian citizen.

International recognition is a powerful and essential ingredient in state building. Democracies like Ireland can give unparalleled legitimacy to fledgling national aspirations. That makes recognition a powerful commodity, one that Ireland could have leveraged to encourage democratisation, the centralisation of governing authority, and compliance with the rule of law. Recognition, to encourage a sustainable peace, should also have been conditioned on the cessation of all hostilities with Israel and the joining of all nascent democratic forces in Palestine in the struggle against Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and all other terrorist groups that pose a threat to peace. Alas, for reasons best known to Messrs Harris, Martin and Ryan, Ireland went another way. – Yours, etc,



Co Kerry.

Sir, – Brian Hoffman (Letters, May 23rd) asks, in relation to the recognition of Palestine, “How can such a state be recognised when there are no agreed borders.” Perhaps he might explain where are Israel’s borders and when and by whom they were agreed? – Yours, etc,



Sadaka, the Ireland Palestine Alliance,


Co Dublin.

Sir, – Does anyone else noticed the contradiction where the entire Irish political establishment supports the partitioning of the region of Palestine into two states as the best option for peace, but opposes the partition of Ireland into two states under any option at all? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – With its decision to officially recognise the state of Palestine on the back of the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel on October 7th, 2023, the Irish Government has taken complete leave of its senses. I doubt the murderous Hamas terrorists and their backers could have envisaged that those savage and indiscriminate attacks on women, children and men would ever reap such rich rewards. But they underestimated, as they in fact seldom do, the stupid arrogance and arrant naivety of the west. The incentive for all terrorists is unequivocal. That the Irish State should have elbowed its way to the front of the queue to deliver a message that violence prevails above negotiation is repugnant. It was not done in my name. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – The decision of the Irish Government to recognise the state of Palestine is troubling. Many around the world will applaud this, but what is the purpose of this decision? There is no quid pro quo. This, in practical terms, does nothing for ordinary Palestinians, especially those in Gaza, who even when this war ends, will still live under the tyrannical rule of Hamas. This will not give an iota of freedom or democracy to ordinary Palestinians. This will not encourage Hamas to renounce its stated aim of the total destruction of the state of Israel. It will not help Palestine become a normal democracy, where the ordinary people will enjoy the same freedoms we take for granted. It will instead be seen as a reward for Hamas, and as more European governments jump on the bandwagon, the leadership of Hamas will assume that the Irish and other governments are content with the status quo.

The least the Government could have done would have been to add terms and conditions to its decision. The only winners in this are Hamas; surely that was not the Government’s aim? – Yours, etc,


Baile Átha Buí,

Co na Mí.

Sir, – US president Joe Biden recently said the coupling together the leaders of Hamas and the Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu in war crimes was “outrageous”. US secretary of state Anthony Blinken announced the US will seek sanctions against the International Criminal Court (ICC), although the US is not even affiliated to the ICC (“Biden administration signals it will support push to sanction International Criminal Court”, World, May 21st).

Is this the US deciding what war crimes and genocide for itself at the expense of the rest of the world? One law for America and when not in their interests damning an international body like the ICC for doing its job with the evidence in front of them?

Being the strongest superpower in the world doesn’t allow the US to sanction any international human rights court or the ICC for the finding they have made in the total destruction of Gaza and the forced violent resettlements in the West Bank. Israel is acting with impunity without any restraints on their destruction and killing of Palestinian civilians, to cut off water, food supplies, electricity and fuel for the now bombed hospitals. The US is the only country with power to stop this terrible carnage in Gaza and see Palestinian lives of men women and children as important as Israeli lives lost in this horrible war. Being a democratic state doesn’t give Israel the right to carry out what is state terrorism on defenceless people. I can only describe Mr Biden’s reaction to the ICC as disgraceful. The US is not the arbiter of what is a war crime and what isn’t; the ICC is an international body to decide, not the US. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.

Sir, – Glad to see Ireland recognising Palestine, but will Palestine even be recognisable after this terrible war? – Yours, etc,