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Ireland to recognise Palestinian statehood 'this month'

By AFP

May 15, 2024 03:34 PM


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Ireland is certain to recognise Palestinian statehood by the end of May, the country's foreign minister said Wednesday, without specifying a date.

"We will be recognising the state of Palestine before the end of the month," Micheal Martin, who is also Ireland's deputy prime minister, told the Newstalk radio station.

In March the leaders of Spain, Ireland, Slovakia and Malta said in a joint statement that they stand ready to recognise Palestinian statehood.

Ireland has long said it has no objection in principle to officially recognising the Palestinian state if it could help the peace process in the Middle East.

But Israel's war against Hamas militants in Gaza has given the issue new impetus.

Last week EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Spain, Ireland and Slovenia planned to symbolically recognise a Palestinian state on May 21, with others potentially following suit.

But Ireland's Martin shied Wednesday from pinpointing a date.

"The specific date is still fluid because we're still in discussions with some countries in respect of a joint recognition of a Palestinian state," said Martin.

"It will become clear in the next few days as to the specific date but it certainly will be before the end of this month.

"I will look forward to consultations today with some foreign ministers in respect of the final specific detail of this."

Last month during a visit to Dublin by Spanish premier Pedro Sanchez, Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said the countries would coordinate the move together.

"When we move forward, we would like to do so with as many others as possible to lend weight to the decision and to send the strongest message," said Harris.

The Gaza war followed Hamas's October 7 attack against Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli figures.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed more than 35,000 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

Egypt rejects Israel's denial of role in aid crisis

Egypt's foreign minister on Tuesday accused Israel of denying responsibility for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza after his Israeli counterpart said Egypt was not allowing aid into the war-torn territory.

Israeli troops on May 7 said they took control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing to Egypt as part of efforts to root out Hamas militants in the east of Rafah city.

The move defied international opposition and shut one of the main humanitarian entry points into famine-threatened Gaza. Since then, Egypt has refused to coordinate with Israel aid access through the Rafah crossing.

Sameh Shoukry, Egypt's foreign minister, said in a statement that "Egypt affirms its categorical rejection of the policy of distorting the facts and disavowing responsibility followed by the Israeli side."

In a tweet on social media platform X, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz had said, "Yesterday, I spoke with UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock about the need to persuade Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing to allow the continued delivery of international humanitarian aid to Gaza."

Katz added that "the key to preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza is now in the hands of our Egyptian friends."

Shoukry, whose country has tried to mediate a truce in the Israel-Hamas war, responded that "Israel is solely responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe that the Palestinians are currently facing in the Gaza Strip."

He added that Israeli control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing and its military operations exposes "aid workers and truck drivers to imminent dangers", referencing trucks awaiting entry to Gaza.

This, he said, "is the main reason for the inability to bring aid through the crossing".

UN chief Antonio Guterres said he is "appalled" by Israel's military escalation in Rafah, a spokesman said.

Guterres' spokesman Farhan Haq said "these developments are further impeding humanitarian access and worsening an already dire situation," while also criticising Hamas for "firing rockets indiscriminately."

Since Israeli troops moved into eastern Rafah, the aid crossing point from Egypt remains closed and nearby Kerem Shalom crossing lacks "safe and logistically viable access," a UN report said late on Monday.


AFP


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