‘A prize for terrorism’: Israeli ambassador hits out at Ireland’s decision to recognise Palestinian state

Move, done along with Norway and Spain, is ‘the right thing to do’, says Simon Harris


As it happened

  • Taoiseach announces Ireland will formally recognise the state of Palestine
  • Recognition is “the right thing to do”, says Simon Harris
  • Norway and Spain have also recognised Palestine’s statehood
  • Israel recalls ambassadors to Ireland, Norway and Spain
  • Israeli embassy in Ireland says decision undermines Israel’s sovereignty
  • Recognition by all three countries will formally take effect from May 28th
  • Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said the recognition of is “a reward for terrorism”
  • Israel’s ambassador to Ireland Dana Erlich hits out at recognition of Palestinian state by Irish Government
  • Move comes amid Gaza conflict and ICC seeking Netanyahu arrest warrant

Best reads


That concludes Wednesday’s rolling coverage of the decision by the Irish Government to recognise the state of Palestine.

Thanks for sticking with us. To recap on the day’s developments, read back over our entries or see Political Editor Pat Leahy’s wrap here.


Elsewhere in Europe, Poland said that it back a two-state solution to the between Israel and the Palestinians.

“We will support the efforts of the High Representative of the European Union and other countries that believe that some long-term, stable solution is needed,” Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski said.

“And we believe that such a stable, long-term solution would be the existence of two states.”

Poland recognised the proclamation of an independent Palestinian state in 1988, according to the ministry’s website. – Reuters


Speaking immediately after Ms Erlich in the Six One studio, Taoiseach Simon Harris again reiterated that Ireland does not recognise the Hamas-run government, only the state of Palestine.

“Ireland deplores the actions of Hamas. It’s an illegal, terrorist organisation and what they did on October 7th in Israel was an absolute massacre. Our position on Hamas should never be misrepresented ... we condemn the actions of Hamas. We call for the unconditional, immediate release of all of the hostages [held by Hamas].”

He added: “But you can do that and also do the next bit which is recognise that there are children going to sleep in Palestine tonight who are not sure if they will wake up in the morning.”

“The pressure needs to continue to be applied across the world for an immediate ceasefire,” he said.

“Symbolism matters, political decisions matter, recognition matters and this is an important decision we have taken, after much deliberation about the correct timing, to try and inject a degree of momentum towards a political peace process.”


The now recalled Israeli ambassador to Ireland spoke on RTÉ's Six One News in the last hour.

Dana Erlich said the move to recognise the state of Palestine has raised questions and that Hamas considers it a “prize for terrorism”, referring to terrorist organisation’s welcoming of the news earlier on in the day.

“Declaring a state when there are so many questions at stake brings more questions – what is recognised right now? Is it a three-state solution?Because Hamas and the Palestinian Authority do not even talk between themselves,” she said.

“The fact that Hamas, I think within an hour from the announcement already sent out a release that they are congratulating and thanking this announcement.

“You do not need to listen to us; just listen to what they are saying, and they are saying that these recognitions are the direct result of what they call the brave resistance,” Ms Erlich said.

Asked on how Israel’s own actions may spurred on the move by Ireland and others to recognise Palestine in light of the ongoing war in Gaza, Ms Erlich said: “I reject that connection ... I do not understand how this benefits the lives of the Palestinians living in Gaza under Hamas rule ... Internationalising this conflict does not help it.”


Speaking at an award ceremony in Ankara on Wednesday, Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan said he was very pleased with the decision by Norway, Ireland and Spain to recognise an independent Palestinian state. – Reuters


Elsewhere, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reacted to the recognition of Palestine by Ireland, Norway and Spain.

In a video posted on X, Mr Netanyahu said: “The intention of several European countries to recognise a Palestinian state is a reward for terrorism.”

He went on to claim that “80 per cent of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria support the terrible massacre of October 7th”. Judea and Samaria are situated in what is today recognised as the Palestinian territory of the West Bank.

Mr Netanyahu added: “This evil cannot be given a state. This would be a terrorist state. It will try to repeat the massacre of October 7 again and again; we will not consent to this. Rewarding terrorism will not bring peace and neither will it stop us from defeating Hamas.”


Marie O’Halloran is watching proceedings in the Seanad.

Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne said Ireland, Norway and Spain’s recognition of the state of Palestine “should not be interpreted as in any way recognition of Hamas or its backers in Iran”.

He said the Government continued to condemn Hamas for the atrocity of October 7th “and to call for the release of the hostages held by that death cult”. But it was “important for the ordinary people of Palestine, who have suffered so much in recent months and over the years”.

He also pointed to remarks by Ireland’s ambassador to Israel Sonya McGuinness in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on why the recognition is happening. “She talks about the fact that the achievement of peace, security and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians is core to the Irish decision.”

Independent Senator Rónán Mullen said he did not know if Ireland’s recognition of the state of Palestine “sends out the right message”. But he agreed that the two-state solution “needs to be emphasised and pressed for” and “cannot be on the basis of any recognition of Hamas or other Iranian-backed groups”.

He asked if people looking on will wonder if the move is “high-visibility virtue signalling by a small country that might maybe have more impact working behind the scenes at coalition building. This might be more befitting our role.”

The question that had to be asked is “does this increase our influence with Israel? Perhaps even more importantly, does it increase our influence with the United States”.

He said he very supported the state of Israel and its right to a secure existence but “we cannot ignore at the same time that we are further away from a two-state solution than ever”.

“There is the brutality of 700,000 or more illegal settlers. Israel needs to be brought to the table and of course the Palestinian community needs to be challenged. Did they ever agree with a two-state solution? Will they live with a two-state solution unless it is imposed from outside. Effectively, that cannot happen without America so there is no future here.”

He said “Ireland must work as much as possible behind the scenes to be a coalition builder and a worker for peace”.

Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway said “there is never a right time to do these things” but “we will all reiterate our call for an immediate ceasefire, the opening of humanitarian aid and a stop to what is going on. It is a truly appalling situation.”

Fianna Fáil acting Seanad leader Lorraine Clifford-Lee said Ireland recognises “that a two-state solution is the only way forward for the region” but “at the moment Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are not committed to that and neither is the Israeli Government”.

She said recognition puts international pressure on both of these countries to work towards a two-state solution. “It is the only way that stability and safety can be guaranteed.

“We are all horrified by what is happening at the moment; the food shortages, the blockages, the thousands of people killed in Gaza, the hostages still held there, the appalling acts of sexual violence against women perpetrated by Hamas.”


Reaction from Europe, this time. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, said he took note of the move by Ireland and Spain to recognise Palestine.

“I will relentlessly work with all member states to promote a common EU position based on a two-state solution,” he said, in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter.


And here is the full text of the Taoiseach Simon Harris’s speech earlier today.


Statement just in from the Taoiseach’s office. Here it is in full.

Taoiseach, Simon Harris, has this evening spoken to the President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, following Ireland’s recognition of the state of Palestine earlier today.

The Taoiseach told the President that he, on behalf of the people of Ireland, was recognising Palestine to keep the hopes of a two-state peace solution between Israel and Palestine alive.

President Abbas told the Taoiseach that Ireland’s recognition of the state of Palestine was a beacon of hope to the Palestinian people. He thanked Ireland, Spain and Norway.

The Taoiseach told President Abbas that Hamas is a brutal terrorist organisation and he utterly condemned the barbaric attack on Israel on October 7th last.

President Abbas said he seconded the Taoiseach’s statement that Israel had the right to exist in peace and security with its neighbours.

The two spoke about hopes for a lasting ceasefire and an end to the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.


Some more reaction from the US from our man in Washington Keith Duggan

Florida Democratic Congressman Jared Moskowitz, House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“First of all, these latest announcements are nothing new: there’s already 140 countries that have gone out and unilaterally recognised the Palestinian state. And there is no Palestinian state. I look forward to a state solution, I think there should be a Palestinian state but it’s only going to come with direct negotiations. Let’s not forget a bit of history here, which is that we tried to create a Palestinian state in the 90s.

“President Clinton worked on that, offered East Jersusalem right of return and 95 per cent of the West Bank and the Palestinians said no. This move actually is going to hurt the Palestinians. Norway was involved in making sure the dollars collected through taxes from the Palestinians go through Norway to get back to the Palestinian Authority. Now Isreal has pulled back their ambassador and now Norway can go longer be a partner. So this move actually doesn’t get us closer to peace it gets us further away.

Minnesota Democratic congressman Dean Phillips.

I’ve long advocated for Palestinian self-determination and statehood, and will continue to do so. But Spain, Norway, and Ireland’s premature recognition of a state is a gift to Hamas and a message to terrorists around the world that abhorrent tactics work. Shameful.


Ireland’s recognition of the state of Palestine is “giving hope” to Palestinians living in Ireland. The move, announced by the Taoiseach on Wednesday, is a “crucial step for building a bright future”.

“We’re grateful for Ireland’s strong support and its historical step to recognise Palestine as a state. This is a crucial step for building a bright future without occupation,” said Ahmed Alsammak, a master’s student who came to Dublin in September for his studies.

Full story here


Jack Horgan Jones of our political team has an excellent Q&A looking at what happened, today and in the build-up to today why it happened and why it matters.


And more from the US where senator Chris Coons of Delaware said he expects to hear from Mr Biden “a continued strong stance of support for Israel’s right to exist and for the ongoing effort to try and resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict by reconciling Saudi Arabia and Israel, something that Mr Biden and his senior team and a group of us here in the senate have dedicated a lot of time to in recent months.”

The senator said there was “a positive path forward here that would lead to a Palestinian self-governing territory but through negotiations directly, where Saudi Arabia would recognise Israel, Israel would announce a new path forward for negotiations directly for a Palestinian self-governing state and the United States would provide security guarantees.

“That’s what was under way just before the October 7th attacks by Hamas. Lets be clear, Hamas is a hateful terrorist organisation dedicated to killing Jews and destroying Israel and that they put out a statement today cheering on these announcements by Spain and Norway and Ireland should suggest that this is not a constructive step at this time and we should continue pressing for a two-state solution through negotiations.”


Speaking on CNN a US National Security Council Spokesperson said president Joe Biden “is a strong supporter of a two-state solution and has been throughout his career. He believes a Palestinian state should be realised through direct negotiations between the parties, not through unilateral recognition.”


A German foreign ministry spokesperson has stressed Berlin’s support for a two-state solution responding to a reporter’s question on the decision by Ireland, Norway and Spain to recognise the state of Palestine.

“An independent Palestinian state remains a firm goal of German foreign policy,” the spokesperson told a regular news conference in Berlin, adding that a dialogue process was needed for that goal.

And in France, the foreign minister Stephane Sejourne said that officially recognising the Palestinian state is not a taboo for France, but any such decision must come at the right time and is not just a matter of political positioning..

“This is not just a symbolic issue or a question of political positioning, but a diplomatic tool in the service of the solution of two States living side by side in peace and security”, he said in a statement.

While attention in this part of the world is focused on diplomatic moves, in Gaza the focus very much remains on military moves.

Israeli tanks advanced to the edge of a crowded district in the heart of Rafah today following what has been described as one of the most intense nights of bombardment the southern Gaza city since Israel launched its offensive there this month. There are more details here.


Politicians and representatives from across the Arab world have welcomed the recognition of the state of Palestine by Ireland, Norway, and Spain.

Hussein al-Shaikh, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) said it was a historic moment in which “the free world triumphs for truth and justice after long decades of Palestinian struggle, suffering, pain, occupation, racism, murder, oppression, abuse and destruction”.

The office of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas expressed appreciation for the countries’ decision to “consecrate the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination on their land”.

The Palestinian foreign ministry said it was “in line with international law and all relevant United Nations resolutions” and will contribute to ending Israel’s occupation and achieving “peace and stability in the region”.

On behalf of the 22-member Arab League, secretary general Ahmed Aboul Gheit thanked the three nations for “their courageous stance, positioning themselves favourably in the historical narrative of [the Arab-Israeli] conflict”.

Six-state Gulf Co-operation Council chief Jasem Albudaiwi called recognition “a pivotal and strategic step towards achieving the two-state solution.”

Jordan’s foreign minister Ayman Safadi posted on X, “The radical Israeli government announced more illegal measures that kill all prospects” of a Palestinian state.

Egypt’s foreign ministry said recognition will bolster efforts to establish a Palestinian state and support the legitimate right of Palestinians to overcome Israeli occupation.

The Saudi foreign ministry called on other states to follow the three countries’ lead.


Good afternoon, I’m Conor Pope and I will be taking over the live story as of now.



Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said “Israel’s attacks on Gaza are war crimes”, and that Ireland “can and must take an active role in the international community in pushing for an immediate and full ceasefire and to hold Israel to count”, reports Marie O’Halloran from the Dáil.

She too called for the Government to enact the Occupied Territories Bill in wake of today’s important announcement, and to take the lead in Europe “in pushing for sanctions against Israel”.

Ms McDonald also asked for the details around the formal recognition of Palestine next Tuesday.

The Taoiseach again “genuinely welcomed” that the Government and Opposition were speaking as one voice in support of Palestinian recognition, and he also acknowledged Ms McDonald’s “long-standing support for this too”.

He said the Government would use every forum available to push for a ceasefire.

Mr Harris said the Palestinian state would be formally recognised next Tuesday and he suggested there should be statements in the Dáil on the issue.

Independent TD Thomas Pringle called for the Palestinian flag to be raised over Leinster House next Tuesday.

People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith welcomed the formal recognition of Palestine and also welcomed the departure of the Israeli ambassador. “I think we should formally expel her and keep her out,” because “after seven months of genocide and massacre in Gaza, this Government has been forced to recognise the State of Palestine years and years after they said they would do so.

“But there’s also years and years of illegal occupation, of apartheid, of rule by a state that doesn’t have a right to exist. This is not a normal state. The state of Israel needs to have sanctions imposed on it, it needs to be boycotted and the Israeli ambassador needs to be expelled from this country.”

She said everyone wanted peace but it would not happen “unless you put the absolute strictest sanctions you possibly can on the apartheid state of Israel and stop the massacre in Gaza”.

The Taoiseach said “I don’t want to be overly argumentative with you but we didn’t say Israel doesn’t have the right to exist.”

He said: “Just to be very clear on the Government’s position – that there is a state of Israel, there is a state of Palestine” and “both states have a right to exist in peace and security”.

Mr Harris added that “we do intend to keep diplomatic relations with Israel. We keep diplomatic relations with countries that we vehemently disagree and those diplomatic relations are often very important to our citizens.”


Taoiseach Simon Harris told the Dáil he was “proud to be Taoiseach in a country where there has been for a significant period of time a political consensus around the importance of this” move, reports Parlimentary Correspondent Marie O’Halloran.

But “there are rare moments where I think we could be unified and speaking with one voice for the people of this country who wanted us to recognise the state of Palestine and they don’t do this naively”.

They were not doing it “to be virtuous. They do it because they passionately believe in a two state solution”.

“They believe that the people of Israel and the people of Palestine have a right to live side by side in two states and peace and insecurity.

“And if you believe in a two-state solution, it’s important that you recognise the existence of two states.”

The countries who recognise Palestine do so as part of a peace process, he said. “But sadly, we’re at a time where just a just and comprehensive peace settlement seems further away than ever, perhaps, and you can’t wait forever to recognise the state of Palestine.”

He said there was “clear legal advice to the government” on the Occupied Territories Bill. “And that legal advice in short is that these trade agreements are a European competency. But I am continuing to push at a European level and I say it very honestly here I am continuing to push to European level as my predecessor did”.

Israel to impose diplomatic sanctions on Irish ambassador

Ireland’s ambassador to Israel Sonya McGuiness will be shown a video clip of the Hamas kidnapping of Israeli women soldiers seized on October 7th, when she meets Israeli officials after being summoned to the foreign ministry in Jerusalem to hear Israeli anger over Dublin’s decision to recognise a Palestinian state, reports Mark Weiss in Jerusalem.

The ambassadors of Norway and Spain have also been summoned for a diplomatic dressing down.

Israeli foreign minister Yisrael Katz said the film will help the ambassadors understand the “twisted decisions” taken by their governments.

The footage will be shown to the Israeli public for the first time on Wednesday night, after the families of five kidnapped women military spotters – who were seized from then-Nahal Oz base close to the Gaza border – decided to release footage showing their abduction to the public, in the hope the footage will persuade the government to agree to a hostage release deal.

Israel is also introducing diplomatic sanctions against the Irish ambassador including not inviting her to briefings, not sending her updates and delaying answering requests from the embassy.


Israeli state-owned broadcaster KAN is reporting that Israel intends on boycotting diplomats of Ireland, Norway and Spain.


Parliamentary Correspondent Marie O’Halloran reports from the Dáil chamber, where Palestinian statehood is on the agenda.

Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns said the decision to recognise the state of Palestine is a powerful move with a “commanding message” that is one of “hope, peace, justice and freedom”.

In the Dáil she also paid tribute to the tens of thousands of Irish people who fought for the Government to take this step, and said that every weekend in every corner of the country people have marched in support of the Palestinian people and “demanded an end to the ongoing genocide”.

During Leaders’ Questions Ms Cairns said “my only wish is that it happened sooner”. It was eight months now into the conflict “with nearly 130,000 Palestinians having been killed, maimed or gone missing presumed dead under mountains of rubble”, she said, adding it was shocking and shameful that so much of the western world has turned a blind eye to this.

She said of the countries that criticise Ireland, Spain and Norway for recognising Palestine, “their hollow criticisms have no credibility. Any country which provides weapons being used to slaughter 15,000 children has abandoned not only the rule of law but any shred of moral authority”.

Referring to the recall of the Israeli ambassador Ms Cairns commented: “All I can say to that is good. Her presence at our Famine commemoration at the weekend, while Israel uses starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza, is grotesque. Ireland should not be facilitating apologists for genocide.”

She called on the Taoiseach to “take the next step” and enact the Occupied Territories Bill and the Illegal Israelis Settlement Divestment Bill and to commit to enforcing any International Criminal Court warrants issued against Israel.


How has recognition of Palestinian statehood played out elsewhere? Derek Scally in Berlin has examined Sweden’s 2014 decision to recognise the state of Palestine.

The decision by Sweden’s left-wing government to recognise the state of Palestine in 2014 surprised its European neighbours and infuriated Israel.

As the first EU member to take this step, Sweden described its decision as confirming Palestinians’ “right to self-determination”.

In its decision, the Swedish government said “the conditions required by international law for recognition of the state of Palestine exist”.

Foreign minister Margot Wallström spoke at the time of a “positive injection into the dynamics of the Middle East peace process” and expressed hope that “this will show the way for others”.

Her Israeli counterpart in 2014, Avigdor Lieberman, called it a “wretched decision” that would bolster extremist Palestinian elements.

“The Swedish government should understand that Middle East relations are more complex than a piece of self-assembled Ikea furniture,” he said, “and this should be handled with responsibility and sensitivity”.

At the time Stockholm framed the move as building on more than a century of diplomatic ties dating back to 1903 when Sweden opened its first consulate in Jerusalem.

Among the first agreements signed: a five-year co-operation agreement in 2015 and a 2016 memorandum of understanding on political, economic and cultural dialogue.

Sweden’s current right-wing government has shifted considerably the tone on Israel from Stockholm, with foreign minister Tobias Billström a leading European voice in defending Israel’s right to defend itself.

Similar to Germany, Sweden has taken its lead in the current Middle East conflict from the US, and the country’s recognition of Palestinian has few visible consequences in day-to-day politics.


A small number of protesters have gathered at the gates of Leinster House following the announcement, reports Political Correspondent Jack Horgan-Jones.

Lior Tibet, a student in UCD, said Israelis had experienced harassment on campus and a one-sided narrative in Ireland and in the Irish media.

“We do feel [recognition] is giving a reward to a terrorist organisation,” she told The Irish Times. “It’s not that we are against a two-state solution, we are pro Palestinians, we want them to have a state, but we are opposed to Hamas and as long as Hamas is the head of the state at the moment, I just can’t see how it’s any benefit to the Palestinians and Israelis.”

She said there was a misconception of the concept of Zionism in Ireland, which she said was not against a Palestinian state.

Cormac, who declined to give his second name, said there had been multiple proposals for peaceful solutions that had been rejected by the Palestinian Authority. He said recognition of the state of Palestine needed to take place within a framework of peace negotiations.

Enosh Hortig, an Israeli studying and living in Ireland, said Israel had been attacked and needed to tackle Hamas. He said the number of civilian deaths that had been reported was not correct. “[Hamas] are using their civilians, [as] a human shield to fight against Israel.”

“With terrorism, you need to fight, and if they use their children as a human shield, you have nothing to do and nothing to say; it’s very sad for us but you need to fight and kill all the bad people and all the terrorism.”


Heads of various charity groups are reacting to Wednesday morning’s news.

Oxfam chief executive Jim Clarken said the decision shows “real and brave leadership on the international stage”, and a commitment to the two-state solution.

“We know right now that the people of Gaza are starving and that UN agencies have regrettably had to halt aid operations in Rafah. Ireland stood by Unrwa in its hour of need. We need now to leverage today’s move to press for urgent life-saving aid to get to the people of Gaza,” he said.

Caoimhe de Barra, Trócaire’s chief executive, said that recognition is a very welcome step, with Ireland joining 143 other UN states in acknowledging Palestinian statehood.

“However, it will serve only as a symbolic gesture unless it is accompanied by decisive action by Ireland and other member states to help Palestinians realise this right to self-determination,” she said.

AidAction Ireland chief Karol Balfe said that Ireland’s announcement was a principled stance, and “a vital measure in rectifying the enduring injustices faced by the Palestinian people”.

“Despite the promise of never again, Gaza is experiencing amongst the worst levels of violence in modern history with an unbearable loss of innocent lives. The International Court of Justice has clearly set out the risk of a plausible genocide and a human-made famine is under way,” she said.


Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin president, has called Government’s decision to recognise Palestinian statehood “an important step” for the Palestinian people.

Ms McDonald said in a statement: “It is now almost a decade since the Dáil unanimously supported a Sinn Féin motion to recognise the state of Palestine in December 2014. It is regrettable that it has taken the Government so long to formally enact this motion.

“I want to commend all of those who have campaigned for this over many decades.

“Ireland is a small nation but we punch above our weight when it comes to influence at both European level and with the United States. We have a role to play in acting decisively and using every avenue available to bring about a ceasefire, and to hold the Israeli regime accountable for its war crimes.

“The recognition of Palestinian statehood by Ireland must be the first step in the Government playing a leading international role in assisting the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state.

“The Government must follow today’s announcement by utilising every tool at their disposal to hold Israel to account and to demand full adherence to international law,” she added.


Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has denied the Government decision to recognise Palestine is in any way a recognition of Hamas. He said its October 7th attack on Israel was unforgivable, reports Political Correspondent Harry McGee.

Mr Ryan said the recognition was for the “day after” the conflict to reflect the Government’s view that Palestine should have the requisite status in any negotiations on the political future of the region.

Speaking on RTÉ, Mr Ryan also sought to give assurance to the Jewish community in Ireland.

“Our first duty is to our citizens, including our own Jewish community, and to give them a clear message that this is not in any way a statement about the future rights and needs of the people of Israel. We absolutely stand up for them.

“They’re the first people I think we should be thinking about today. This does not make any implications whatsoever, about Hamas or about the people of Israel. It is a recognition of an international right, that of Palestine to exist, which we believe is to be central to a peaceful solution for the people of Israel, as well as for Palestine.”


Bobby McDonagh, former Irish ambassador to the EU, has said the Government “got it right” with official recognition of the State of Palestine, reports Vivienne Clarke.

I think it’s the right decision in principle and at the right time as well. Of course, no timing is perfect because there are pros and cons of timing, but I think that they’ve got it right,” he said, speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne.

“We’ve had the 143 of 193 countries at the United Nations recently calling for Palestine to be recognised, Sweden recognised to Palestine in 2014, and many other EU countries did it before that and we’re acting with Norway and Spain.

“I think the timing is right and I think it’s the right decision,” he added.

Mr McDonagh said the only way to undermine extremism was to provide a political perspective. “And that’s what Norway and Spain and Ireland and hopefully some other countries do later in the month.

“Our motives are absolutely clear. We want peace. We want justice. But you can only control your actions. You can’t control responses to them.”


Recognition of a Palestinian state amounted to the “rewarding of a terrorist organisation for committing the single greatest atrocity on the Jewish people since the Shoah, the Holocaust,” Maurice Cohen, chair of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland has said. He labelled the decision “an act of pure folly.”

Mr Cohen was speaking at the installation of Ireland’s eighth Chief Rabbi, Yoni Weider, at the Dublin Hebrew Synagogue in Terenure on Tuesday evening. The large attendance included Israel’s Ambassador to Ireland Dana Erlich.


Mark Weiss in Jerusalem has more on the fallout in Israel.

The foreign ministry in Jerusalem has also summoned Ireland’s ambassador to Israel, Sonya McGuiness, for a diplomatic dressing down, following the recognition move.

Far-right finance minister Bezalel Smotrich is demanding that prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu take steps against the Palestinian Authority (PA), including stopping the transfer of tax funds collected by Israel on behalf of the PA.

In his appeal to Netanyahu, Smotrich said he would not transfer the tax funds “until further notice”. Additionally, he announced his intention to cancel the recently agreed arrangement under which Israel transfers these tax funds via Norway (in order to appease far-right coalition members who opposed the direct transfer of the funds to the PA).

“Norway was the first to unilaterally recognise a Palestinian state today, and it cannot be a partner in anything related to Judea and Samaria,” he stated, using the Biblical term for the West Bank.

Smotrich also called for the revoking the VIP permits of Palestinian Authority officials, which allows them to pass through West Bank checkpoints without hindrance, alongside imposing economic sanctions on them and their families.

Hamas welcomed the decision to recognise a Palestinian state.

“This is an important step on the road to base the right of the Palestinian people over its land, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital,” a statement released by the organisation read.

A senior Hamas official credited the “brave resistance” of the Palestinian people for spurring the recognitions.

“These successive recognitions are the direct result of this brave resistance and the legendary steadfastness of the Palestinian people ... we believe this will be a turning point in the international position on the Palestinian issue,” Bassem Naim, a senior Hamas political bureau member, told AFP.


Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns has welcomed the decision to recognise the State of Palestine.

“The Social Democrats have long called for the government to match its strong words, on the carnage in Gaza, with action – and this is a powerful action which sends a strong message,” she said.

“That message is one of hope, peace, justice and freedom – for an imprisoned Palestinian people being massacred by a barbaric occupier.”

Government decision undermines Israel’s sovereignty and security, says Israeli embassy

The Government’s “decision on recognition” is disappointing, the Embassy of Israel in Ireland has said, stating that the move undermines the sovereignty and security of Israel and damages Ireland-Israel relations.

The embassy confirmed that Dana Erlich, Israel’s ambassador to Ireland, has been recalled by foreign minister Yisrael Katz “temporarily for consultations”.

The decision “brings more questions than answers”, a spokesman for the embassy said in a statement, “especially regarding its timing, after Hamas committed the worst atrocity against the Jewish people since the Holocaust.”

“In the wake of the brutal attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7th, which saw the indiscriminate mass murder of 1,200 people and the kidnapping, rape and torture of hundreds more, a step such as this sends a message to Palestinians and the world: ‘Terrorism pays’,” he said.

The embassy claimed that the Government decision jepordises hopes of Hamas releasing hostages kidnapped and held in Gaza since the October 7th attacks.

“Unilateral gestures such as this will do nothing for either Palestinians or Israelis. We can only resolve our differences through bilateral negotiation. Just as in Ireland’s case, political steps cannot be imposed,” he said.

“Recognition raises many questions, such as what is meant by ‘Palestine’. What does it mean for Gaza since Hamas, who control it are bitter rivals of the Palestinian Authority? How will this help the people of Gaza under Hamas’s rule? Most importantly, one must question the timing of this announcement in the midst of a war that Hamas launched.

“Israel sees this step as undermining its sovereignty and security and as damaging to our bilateral relations,” he added.


The Labour Party has welcomed the announcement.

“Labour has long called for the recognition of the Palestinian state as a necessary step towards peace and justice,” Brendan Howlin, the party’s spokesman on foreign affairs, said in a statement. “The Government’s decision is a vital acknowledgment of the Palestinian right to self-determination and a crucial step towards a two-state solution.

“The Irish people have looked on in horror at the tragic loss of life and suffering in Gaza. This recognition must be more than symbolic. It is imperative that the Government now uses its influence to amplify this clear and strong Irish voice on the international stage, pushing tirelessly for a ceasefire and a just resolution to the conflict.

“State recognition must be matched with concrete actions. The Government must now take the lead in international diplomatic efforts, ensuring that recognition translates into meaningful progress towards peace and stability in the region. Just like every Israeli child, every Palestinian child deserves peace and safety,” he said.


MEP Clare Daly has said in a statement that Ireland “should have recognised Palestine as a state decades ago”.

“While welcome, taking this step now is yet another symbolic gesture from the Government, when what Palestinians need is tangible action, such as an arms embargo, denial of passage through Shannon Airport to US military aircraft aiding the genocide and suspension of the trade relationship with Israel.

“Ireland’s exports of dual-use goods to Israel increased sevenfold in 2023, to more than €70 million. Ireland remains complicit in funding and arming the regime destroying Palestinians,” Ms Daly said.

“If the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste want to help the people of Gaza, they should begin by ending complicity in what is happening to them,” she said.


People Before Profit-Solidarity TD Paul Murphy says Ireland’s recognition of Palestinian statehood is a “historic step”.

“The Government has taken this welcome step thanks to the mass movement from below against Israeli genocide. It should now be matched with action against Israel.

“The Israeli ambassador should be expelled and sanctions should be imposed,” he added.

Earlier, it was reported Israeli foreign minister Yisrael Katz this morning recalled Dana Erlich, Israel’s ambassador to Ireland, following this morning’s announcement.


Independent TD Cathal Berry called Wednesday’s announcement a “positive development”, speaking on Newstalk Breakfast.

“I think it’s the only logical way to do business, really, in light of what happened in that General Assembly 12 days ago when an overwhelming majority of UN members decided to recognise the existence of Palestine and request that it be given full UN membership status as well,” the former army ranger said.

“But to answer your specific question: how can it help? It provides a backstop because unfortunately what’s unfolding in the tragedy in the Middle East at the moment is that the Palestinian people, both in Gaza and the West Bank, are being driven off their land and have been driven to other countries.

“And the big concern is that the potential for a two-state solution, which I believe everybody wants to bring peace in the region, would not be a viable option.

“So that’s what is for us to create a backstop to prevent, or at least reduce the risk of further evictions and illegal settlements in the West Bank, both to hope to bring some modicum of, I guess, a truce or some kind of peaceful coexistence in Gaza as well,” he said.



Mark Weiss in Jerusalem has more on the Israeli reaction:

Israel’s foreign minister, Yisrael Katz, ordered the recall of the Israeli ambassador to Ireland on Wednesday morning, citing Dublin’s decision to recognise a Palestinian state.

Similar action was taken against Norway and Spain. The move will go into effect in the middle of next week.

“I’m sending today a clear message,” said Mr Katz. “Israel won’t overlook those who undercut its # and endanger its security.”

The minister warned the countries’ “rash decisions” will have “other dire consequences”, without elaborating.

“Ireland and Norway intend to send a message today to the Palestinians and the whole world: terrorism pays. The twisted step by these states is an affront to the victims of October 7th,” he said. “It also harms efforts to bring back the 128 hostages.

“The Irish-Norwegian parade of stupidity does not deter us. We are determined to achieve our goals: returning security to our citizens, toppling Hamas and bringing back the hostages.”

Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the far-right Religious Zionism party, said a new Jewish settlement should be set up for each country that recognises a Palestinian state. He also called on Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu to authorise 10,000 new settler homes in response to the announcement.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the recognition, saying the decision will enshrine “the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination” and support efforts to bring about a two-state solution with Israel.


Good morning, Fiachra Gallagher here, taking over live coverage of this morning’s “historic and important” announcement.



Vivienne Clarke has Palestinian reaction:

The Palestinian ambassador to Ireland, Dr Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid, thanked the Irish Government for its formal recognition of the state of Palestine. Dr Abdalmajid told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland her reaction to the announcement was “positive and emotional”.

“I think it’s the time, it’s not just symbolic; it’s a recognition of our rights, of 13 million people, of Palestinian people to self-determination, and to live in peace and security in a sovereign state. That acknowledgment of recognition is highly welcomed by the Palestinian leadership. And, of course by all the Palestinians.

“What’s going on in Gaza at the minute and in the West Bank needs the international community to take action. This action, the recognition of the rights of the Palestinians ... gives hope to the Palestinians, that they are seen, they are heard. They are not alone, and the international community believes in their rights, to live in peace and security in their sovereign state.”

Dr Abdalmajid said Ireland had led the way and had worked hard with other countries at UN level and within the EU – which had resulted in the recognition, “something very good, very strong”.

The United States could not ignore the international community and if it was to use its veto again at the UN Security Council it would be seen as opposing the international community, she said.

When asked about the decision of Israel to recall its ambassadors from Ireland and Norway and its statement on social media that today’s decision sends a message to the Palestinians and the world that terrorism pays, Dr Abdalmajid said: “The Israelis wouldn’t see this as a normal step as their barbaric and genocidal war continues with the Palestinian people.

“I say that the 35,000 of Palestinians and more than 70,000 of people, killed and injured, more than 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza ... makes the international community obliged to do something on the ground after seven months of this barbaric war.

“Someone should take the lead and say to the international community that this must stop. And the Palestinian people deserve to have their own state, to live in peace and security in the region. We cannot just live in this war forever,” Dr Abdalmajid said.

“We are 13 million, we deserve this right. Our right to self-determination, our aspiration for freedom. This will come, the Palestinian people deserve this.”

Neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis deserved to live in war forever, she added. “We deserve to live in peace and security. And the Israeli children, the Palestinian children deserve to live in peace and security for their life. We deserve this. And the international community must help us to achieve this.”


The Guardian has more on the Spanish intention to follow Ireland and Norway in recognising Palestine:

Speaking to MPs in congress on Wednesday, Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, announced his socialist-led coalition government would recognise the state of Palestine on May 28th.

He said his government rejected what he termed “the massacre in Gaza and the rest of the Palestinian territories” and reiterated its demands for a ceasefire and the implementation of the two-state solution. But he also said the time had come for concrete action.

“Prime minister Netanyahu is still turning a blind eye and bombing hospitals, schools, homes,” said Mr Sánchez. “He is still using hunger, cold and terror to punish more than a million innocent boys and girls – and things have gone so far that prosecutors at the International Criminal Court have this week sought his arrest for war crimes.”

The Spanish prime minister said he was in no doubt whatsoever that Netanyahu had “no peace plan for Palestine”, adding that he was causing so much pain, destruction and bitterness in Gaza and the rest of Palestine that the two-state solution was now in serious danger.

“Those countries that defend human rights and rule-based international law are obliged to act – in Ukraine and in Palestine – without double standards,” said Mr Sánchez.

He said: “We’re obliged to do what we can: sending humanitarian aid, as we are; helping refugees and displaced people, as we are.

“But we also have to use all the political resources at our disposal to say, loud and clear, that we’re not going to allow the possibility of the two-state solution to be destroyed by force because it’s the only just and sustainable solution to this terrible conflict.

“And that is why I wish to inform you that after discussing the decision with the two parties that make up this progressive coalition government – and in keeping with the feelings of the majority of the Spanish people – Spain’s cabinet will approve the recognition of the Palestinian state on Tuesday 28 May.”

His words were met with huge applause in Spain’s lower chamber.



However, Oliver Sears, the founder of Holocaust Awareness Ireland, has described the timing of the State’s recognition of Palestine as “frankly, terrible”.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Sears said he wanted peace for the region and supported a Palestinian state but that timing was everything.

“We all want peace in this region. I’ve been a committed peacenik who has wanted a Palestinian state for as long as I’m aware of this region and this crisis. I think timing is everything. I think the timing is, frankly, terrible. You can’t force peace on two warring parties. You have to create an atmosphere where there is at least the beginning of trust between the parties,” Mr Sears said.

“We know this from the long peace negotiations that happened in the north of this country.”

Mr Sears said the Government’s action was emotional but not practical and did not recognise how the region was going to find peace.

When asked how he thought the Jewish community in Ireland would regard the decision, Mr Sears replied: They know that this has been coming. My sense is that they will be very disappointed because they see it as a reward to Hamas. And everybody in the community is sickened by what’s going on. Most Jews I talked to are absolutely in favour of a two-state solution. It’s just the timing.”


SDLP leader Colum Eastwood:

“I welcome and strongly endorse the decision of the Irish Government to recognise the state of Palestine today. Following an important vote by the United Nations General Assembly earlier in the month, this generates further momentum toward recognition of Palestine and a durable two-state solution to conflict in the region.

“A sustainable peace must begin with recognition of the legitimate aspirations and rights of both peoples in the eyes of the international community. A peace process, as far off as that may feel right now, will only succeed if the people of Israel and Palestine are equal partners. Today’s decision is an honest reflection of that unavoidable truth.”


Reaction to Ireland’s move to recognise Palestine is now flowing in:

Recognition of the state of Palestine by several EU countries was hailed as “a landmark decision” that must transcend symbolism” by Oxfam Ireland

Oxfam Ireland CEO Jim Clarken said: “Ireland is showing real and brave leadership on the international stage and today’s move strongly reinforces our commitment to a two-state solution to this long-standing conflict.

“Ireland is demonstrating solidarity with the Palestinian people in the strongest political terms and the clock cannot now be turned back.

“Today’s move by Ireland and its allies should encourage other countries and the EU to join an unstoppable march to allow Palestine to take its rightful place as full, unquestioned members of the countries of the world,” he said.


In case you missed it earlier, here’s the text of the tweet from the Israeli minister of foreign affairs recalling Israel envoys:

“I have instructed the immediate recall of Israel’s ambassadors to Ireland and Norway for consultations in light of these countries’ decisions to recognise a Palestinian state.

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.

Today’s decision sends a message to the Palestinians and the world: Terrorism pays. After the Hamas terror organisation carried out the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, after committing heinous sexual crimes witnessed by the world, these countries chose to reward Hamas and Iran by recognising a Palestinian state.

This distorted step by these countries is an injustice to the memory of the victims of 7/10, a blow to efforts to return the 128 hostages, and a boost to Hamas and Iran’s jihadists, which undermines the chance for peace and questions Israel’s right to self-defence.

Israel will not remain silent – there will be further severe consequences. If Spain follows through on its intention to recognise a Palestinian state, a similar step will be taken against it.

The Irish-Norwegian folly does not deter us; we are determined to achieve our goals: restoring security to our citizens, dismantling Hamas, and bringing the hostages home. There are no more just causes than these.”


RTÉ correspondent Paul Cunningham puts it to the Taoiseach that Israel has recalled their ambassadors from Norway and Ireland.

Israel “loses nothing” from the recognition of the state of Palestine, Harris says.

Hamas is not the Palestinian people, the Taoiseach says. He was responding to Israeli claims that today’s decision says to Palestinians: “terrorism works”, referencing the October 7th attacks on Israel.

“We know what it’s like” when a terrorist organisation tries to hijack your identity, he says. Decent people are able to differentiate the actions of terrorists, and the decent people of a state, Harris adds.

“I want to know in years to come, that Ireland spoke up, spoke out, in favour of peace,” says Harris, when it is put to him that the announcement may not make a difference to Palestinians in Gaza.

Micheál Martin points out that recognition of Palestine is in the Programme for Government.


Micheál Martin says it is important the decision is not misrepresented as a hostile act towards Israel. Ireland recognises equally the right of Israel and Palestine to exist, he says.

He rejects calls in Israel and Palestine for the land between the Jordan river and Mediterranean Sea “to be a mono-ethnic state” based on forced exile or subjugation.

The Tánaiste speaks about the obligations on the state of Palestine: to provide democracy, human rights, good governance and rule of law to its people.

He reiterates calls for an immediate ceasefire, return of hostages and unimpeded access to humanitarian aid in Gaza.

We are at the beginning of a “long path” to peace, a path that must be walked by Palestinians and Israeli, he says.

Eamon Ryan echoes Martin’s comments: “We recognise the state of Palestine just as we equally and resolutely recognise the State of Israel. This is not an endorsement of Hamas, Ryan says.


And to Spain:

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez said on Wednesday the country’s Council of Ministers would recognise an independent Palestinian state on Tuesday, May 28th.


“We recognise the state of Palestine,” says Simon Harris.

Today’s announcement has powerful political and symbolic value, the Taoiseach says, recognising the Palestinian people’s aspirations to be living freely.

Recognition of the state of Palestine represents unequivocal support of the two-state solution, says the Taoiseach, adding it is the only credible path to peace between Israel and Palestine.

He says this recognition is “the right thing to do”.

The Taoiseach says this announcement comes at a dark time for Gazan Palestinians, who are experiencing the “most appalling supporting hardship and suffering”.

Reiterating Israel’s right to exist, Mr Harris condemns Hamas, who have “nothing to offer”, and he rejects extremist Zionism, which, he says, fuels settler violence.

Micheál Martin calls this a “historic moment”. Palestinians deserve rights to self-determination and statehood he says.



Taoiseach Simon Harris has formally announced that Ireland, Spain and Norway will recognise the State of Palestine.


Some context on recognition of a Palestinian state: Sweden officially recognised the state of Palestine in 2014 becoming the first EU member in western Europe to recognise a Palestinian state.

Other EU member states that have already recognised a Palestinian state, but which took the step before joining the EU, are Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Romania.

Sweden officially recognised the state of Palestine in 2014 becoming the first EU member in western Europe to recognise a Palestinian state.


Irish Times reporter Fiachra Gallagher is at Government Buildings for the press conference: The three Coalition leaders are expected outside Government Buildings in the next 10 minutes. Three podiums are in place, flanked by Tricolours.


AFP is reporting Israel has recalled ambassadors to Ireland and Norway over moves to recognise a Palestinian state.


“Don’t be pawns in the hands of Hamas,” the Israeli foreign ministry warns Ireland on X:

In the 35-second video, the narrator declares: “Ireland: The possibility of recognising a Palestinian state risks turning you into a pawn in the hands of Iran and Hamas.

“Such a move will only strengthen Hamas and weaken an already dysfunctional Palestinian Authority. The fact that Hamas leaders are thanking you should serve as a wake-up call.”

It ends with the line: “Say no to recognition.”


More from Jack Horgan-Jones:

It is expected that Taoiseach Simon Harris will tell reporters that Ireland is in the “first wave” of countries to recognise Palestine.

Dublin expects to be joined by others in the weeks ahead, with Slovenia and Malta mentioned, but also some reports that Belgium and even France could give the step consideration – although it is understood there hasn’t been dialogue between Ireland and Paris on this point.

Sources in Government Buildings said the original intention had been for Ireland to recognise Palestine on May 14th, but that it was pushed back to accommodate Norway’s announcement.

The recognition by all three states will formally take effect from May 28th, it is understood.


Norway will recognise a Palestinian state, prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre said this morning, confirming earlier reports. The goal is to achieve a Palestinian state that is politically cohesive, and that derives from the Palestinian Authority, he said.

“This could ultimately make it possible to resume the process toward achieving a two-state solution and give it renewed momentum, Mr Støre said.

“There cannot be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition.”


This just in from our political correspondent Jack Horgan-Jones:

Ireland is to be joined by Norway and Spain in recognising Palestine. A press conference in Norway is imminent, with Ireland to follow at 8am, and Spain thereafter.


Last month, the Taoiseach and Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, held bilateral talks in Dublin, vowing to gather international support for a two-state solution.

Mr Sánchez had also met Norway’s prime minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, who said his country also stood ready to recognise a Palestinian state. “The question is when and in what context,” he said.


Good morning. The Government is set to formally recognise the state of Palestine this morning.

It is understood two other European Union countries, who have not been identified, will also move toward recognition.

Taoiseach Simon Harris, Tánaiste Micheál Martin and Minister Eamon Ryan are due to address the media at 8am on Wednesday where the decision is expected to be addressed.

On Sunday, Mr Harris said Ireland would recognise a Palestinian state by the end of the month, but insisted he did not wish to see diplomatic relations with Israel severed as a result of the move that would prove highly controversial amid the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and the International Criminal Court seeking arrest warrants for senior Israeli and Hamas officials.