The Irish parliament on Wednesday voted in favor of Irish government recognition of a Palestinian state. The motion passed unopposed.
The non-binding motion called on the Irish government to “officially recognize the State of Palestine, on the basis of the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital, as established in UN resolutions,” reports AFP.
It added that this would be “a further positive contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” though it did not explain how or why such a resolution from Ireland would help achieve Middle East peace.
Although the Irish government is not bound by the vote, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said Ireland supported “in principle” early recognition of a Palestinian state. “We have always supported a viable two-state solution and will continue to support that in any manner and by any means,” Flanagan said.
The chairperson of the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Martin O’Quigley, welcomed the move.
The Israeli embassy in Dublin was critical of the motion, saying in a statement that the vote “is a vote for Ireland, a neutral country, to intervene in a foreign conflict in favor of one national movement at the expense of another,” the Embassy said in a statement. “That is not how peace is brought about.”
The Irish vote marks the fourth time since October that a European parliament has voted in favor of Palestinian statehood: the parliaments of France, Britain, and Spain have all passed similar resolutions.
Sweden went even further, following through with official government recognition of Palestine. In response, Israel recalled its ambassador.
Pro-Palestinian politicians in Europe have become increasingly active in pushing for diplomatic recognition of a Palestinian state since the failure of American-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority last April, and the summer’s Gaza war.
Critics of the motions to recognize a Palestinian state consider such moves premature, counterproductive in that they harden Palestinian negotiating positions, and motivated mostly by pandering to growing domestic Muslim populations.
Nevertheless, the Irish motion had full cross-party support despite being proposed by the opposition Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, fresh from being refused entry to Gaza by Israel only last week, maintained that the motion’s purpose was to inspire hope. “We must stand with the Palestinian and Israeli citizens who want peace – who are taking risks for peace. The passing of this motion is an important contribution to this,” Adams said.
In an attempt to show a bit of even-handedness, the motion also called for Ireland to act internationally to foster “an inclusive and viable peace process.”