Ireland officially recognises State of Palestine prompting Israel to recall ambassador

Marking a historic moment, Taoiseach Simon Harris announced that Ireland, Norway and Spain are recognising the State of Palestine.

Announcement that Ireland is recognising the State of Palestine, with Simon Harris and two other politician speaking to the media.
Image: Via X - @greenparty_ie

In a historic move, Ireland has officially recognised the State of Palestine. Taoiseach Simon Harris made the announcement today, May 22, as the Israeli embassy stated that it sees the move as “undermining its sovereignty and security” and recalled its ambassador.

As specified by the Palestinian Authority, 142 out of the 193 UN member countries already recognise the State of Palestine. This number includes many Middle Eastern, African and Asian countries, but excludes most of Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

While a bill for the recognition of the Palestinian state had gone through the Seanad and the Dáil in 2014, the Irish Government had yet to follow through on it. Earlier in March, then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar released a statement with Malta, Slovenia and Spain saying that the countries had “discussed together our readiness to recognise Palestine and said that we would do so when it can make a positive contribution and the circumstances are right”.

Announcing the move, Taoiseach Simon Harris called this an “historic and important day” and said: “Today, Ireland, Norway and Spain are announcing that we recognise the State of Palestine.”

Expanding on the value of recognising Palestine as a state, Harris recalled Ireland’s efforts to be recognised as a sovereign nation over 100 years ago. “On the 21st of January 1919, Ireland asked the world to recognise our right to be an independent state,” the Taoiseach said.

“Our message to the free nations of the world was a plea for international recognition of our independence, emphasising our distinct national identity, our historical struggle, and our right to self-determination and justice.

“Today, we use the same language to support the recognition of Palestine as a state,” he added. “We do so because we believe in freedom and justice as the fundamental principles of international law and because we believe that permanent peace can only be secured upon the basis of the free will of a free people.”

Harris went on to describe this recognition as “an act of powerful political and symbolic value” and “an expression of our view that Palestine holds and should be able to vindicate the full rights of a state, including self-determination, self-governance, territorial integrity and security, as well as recognising Palestine’s own obligations under international law.

“It is a message to those in Palestine who advocate and work for a future of peace and democracy that we fully respect your aspirations to be living freely in control of your own affairs and under your own leadership.”

Harris stated that it is “never the wrong time to do the right thing”.

“I want to know in years to come that Ireland spoke up, spoke out in favour of peace, in favour of a political settlement that allows children in Palestine and children in Israel to live safely and in peace and security side-by-side.”


The recognition is set to formally take effect on May 28. This morning, Norway also announced its recognition of the State of Palestine, while Spain’s Prime Minister announced that the country will follow suit on May 28.

The news was not well received by the Israeli embassy in Ireland, which saw the recognition as “undermining its sovereignty and security” and as “damaging to our bilateral relations”. This morning, the Israeli government recalled its ambassadors to Ireland and Norway for “urgent consultations”.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a statement, “Today, I am sending a sharp message to Ireland and Norway: Israel will not go over this in silence. I have just ordered the return of the Israeli ambassadors from Dublin and Oslo to Israel for further consultations in Jerusalem.”

Previously, Israel had described plans for the recognition of the State of Palestine by Ireland and other countries as a “prize for terrorism”, claiming that it would reduce the chance of a successful negotiation over the war on Gaza.


Over 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in the seven months since Israel launched its genocidal military offensive in the Gaza Strip following the Hamas attack on October 7, last year. Many more had to flee their homes to avoid being killed in the airstrikes, with estimates showing that 90% of the population in the Strip has been displaced.

Earlier this month, the Israeli army started a series of assaults on Rafah, a small city where many Palestinians fled after Israel ordered civilians in the Strip to evacuate south. It is now estimated that 1.5 million people are living there, with many living in tent camps and makeshift shelters after fleeing the bombardments.

According to the UN Agency for Palestine UNRWA, the UN has suspended all deliveries of food to Rafah due to the ongoing Israeli military operations in the city. Because of the assaults, UNRWA’s distribution centre and the World Food Program’s warehouse are now inaccessible.

On Monday, May 20, the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, announced that he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as three Hamas leaders. The prosecutor stated that Netanyahu and Gallant bore responsibility for Israel’s use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare, intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population, extermination and crimes against humanity.

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