Campaign Urges Ireland to Recognize Palestinian State

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A Palestinian woman places an olive tree branch and a Palestinian flag on a piece of land close to the West Bank illegal Israeli settlement of Ofra during a protest against Israel's settlement expansion, on February 9, 2015. AFP/Abbas Momani

Published Friday, February 27, 2015

A group in Ireland on Wednesday launched a billboard campaign to urge the Irish government to recognize Palestine as a state within the 1967 borders.

Sadaka, a Palestinian solidarity group, said that former Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, and PA ambassador to Ireland Ahmed Abdelrazek urged the Irish government to recognize Palestine based on the two state parameters as part of the campaign.

John Douglas, President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions said: "The Dáil and Seanad have given the Government a clear mandate to recognize the state of Palestine."

"Ireland's stated policy is that it supports a two state solution in Palestine and Israel. Ireland already recognizes Israel — we should now recognize Palestine."

The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-infamous Balfour Declaration, called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

In 1948, with the end of the British mandate in Palestine, a new state — Israel — was declared inside historical Palestine.

As a result, some 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes or were forcibly expelled, while hundreds of Palestinian villages and cities were razed to the ground by invading Zionist forces.

Israel then occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Zionist state — a move never recognized by the international community.

In 1988, Palestinian leaders led by Arafat declared the existence of a State of Palestine inside the 1967 borders and the State's belief "in the settlement of international and regional disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the charter and resolutions of the United Nations."

Heralded as a "historic compromise," the move implied that Palestinians would agree to control only 22 percent of historical Palestinian territories in exchange for peace with Israel. It is believed the PA now has control over only 17 percent after massive Israeli settlement building,

It is worth noting that numerous Palestinian factions as well as pro-Palestine advocates support a one-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians would be treated equally, arguing that the creation of a Palestinian state beside Israel would not be sustainable and that it would mean recognizing a state of Israel on territories seized forcefully by Zionists before 1967.

They also believe that the two-state solution, which is the only option considered by international actors, won't solve existing discrimination, nor erase economic and military tensions.

Meanwhile, Chair of Sadaka Marie Crawley said recognition of Palestine would put pressure on Israel to contribute constructively to the peace process.

"Israel, as an occupying power, continues to hold a veto over Palestinian statehood. No country should deny another nation its right to statehood. And, as the maps on these billboards powerfully demonstrate, time is running out for the establishment of a Palestinian state."

The adverts will appear on billboards, buses, bus shelters and train stations in Dublin.

In December 2014, Irish lawmakers urged their government to recognize Palestine as a state within the 1967 borders in a symbolic motion that sailed through parliament unopposed.

The non-binding motion agreed by lawmakers in Dublin called on the 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.”

Following a series of votes on the issue in EU nations which have enraged Israel, the European Parliament in December overwhelmingly backed the recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders "in principle."

The non-binding motion, a watered down version of an original motion which had urged EU member states to recognize a Palestinian state unconditionally, said the parliament "supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced."

European politicians have become more active in pushing for a sovereign Palestine since the collapse of US-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in April, and an ensuing conflict in Gaza, where more than 2,310 Palestinians, at least 70 percent of them civilians, were killed this summer, as well as 66 soldiers and six civilians on the Israeli side.

EU's vote follows Sweden's decision in October to recognize Palestine and non-binding votes since then by parliaments in Britain, France, Ireland, and Spain in favor of recognition demonstrated growing European impatience with the stalled peace process.

According to the PA, around 135 countries have recognized Palestine as a state within the 1967 borders including several that are now EU members.

(Ma’an, Al-Akhbar)

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