Public Affairs

Palestinian Ambassador: ‘The people of Ireland see us’

I was warmly welcomed at the Taoiseach’s office in Government Buildings as the Ambassador of the State of Palestine. This was the first time that a Palestinian Ambassador has attended the Taoiseach’s office. It is an honour to represent my country and my people in Ireland, the great country and nation, writes Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid.

During my time as the representative of Palestine in Ireland, Irish officials never treated me differently to any other ambassador, a gesture that was always appreciated. I did not think they could treat me even better, but my welcome at the Taoiseach’s office was a momentous occasion for me as a Palestinian and as the first Ambassador of the State of Palestine to Ireland.

The recognition of the state of Palestine by Ireland has been on the government’s horizons and programme for a number of years. In 2014, Dáil Éireann voted unanimously in favour of a motion submitted by Sinn Fein calling the government to recognise the State of Palestine. It had since been on the manifesto of most of Ireland’s political parties.

Ireland has been consistent in calling for justice and human rights in the international platforms, playing a key role in the EU in supporting the Palestinian cause, voting in both 2012 and May 2024 in favour of the UN General Assembly’s recognition of Palestine as a full member. Ireland took a very significant step in recognising the State of Palestine in May 2024. In its message of recognition, the Government of Ireland said that Ireland recognises the State of Palestine in the spirit of peace and believing that the two state solution is the only way for peace and security for both Palestinians and Israelis.

This solution led by Ireland as the first EU state member to declare that this solution to the conflict in the Middle East had to be based on a fully sovereign State of Palestine, independent and of coexisting with Israel. This policy position was introduced in 1980 by then-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Lenihan. It took Ireland many years to have this recognition implemented.

On 21 January 1919, the first Dáil issued a Message to the Free Nations of the World, calling for Ireland’s recognition by the ‘free nations of the world’. Ireland pleaded for the international recognition of its independence, stressing its national identity, historical struggle, and its right to self-determination and justice. On 28 May 2024, Ireland used the same language to support our calls for the recognition of Palestine as a state.

It is the first step that will be followed by many more to enhance this recognition. Our aim is to build a country free, sovereign and democratic, and to be among the nations of the world as a full member state at the United Nations, equal in rights and responsibilities.

We will invest in strengthening the already remarkably strong bonds between the Irish people and the Palestinians. We shared a common history of oppression, colonisation, and starvation. Both nations experienced a denial of statehood and endured a long struggle for independence. Today, I trust that we must work together of the basis of creating a better future for our children. We want the future to remind us that these bonds evolved over the years in practical ways for the prosperity of both nations.

The recognition by Ireland on the 28 May is a clear and direct message of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. It gives hope and sends a strong message that we are not alone, that the people of Ireland see us. Some may say that this recognition is merely symbolic, but I want to make it clear as I trust that this is a genuine and vital step in our path and aspiration for freedom and independence.

On this same day 60 years ago, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) was created. The PLO is the legitimate representative of the Palestine people. The 28 May 1964, is the day that our people, supported by the Arab states, started our battle for recognition amongst the free nations of the world. Our aspiration for freedom has never faded and will not end until we achieve an independent and sovereign state of Palestine.

The Irish nation knows the strategic value of statehood being recognised and accepted on the world stage and within international institutions.

In addition to the very strong government initiatives and statements made over the past few months, the strength of the connection between our people has been evidenced by the extent of the solidarity demonstrated by hundreds of thousands of people across the island of Ireland. It has been strong, it has been powerful, it has been consistent and steadfast, and we truly appreciate it.

Our wish is to be recognised as a state like any other; to control our own affairs and speak for ourselves on the international stage, Ireland recognises this wish. Ireland recognises the State of Palestine to live in peace, security and dignity.

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