As Israel bombs Gaza, Ireland has remained an outlier of European countries showcasing steadfast support for the Palestinian cause.
Qatar Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani commended Ireland for supporting Palestinian rights during a phone call with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Monday.
The Qatari official applauded Ireland for its unwavering solidarity for Palestinians amid Israel’s war on Gaza, which killed 13,300 innocent civilians, mostly children and women.
During the call, the Qatari Prime Minster expressed the Gulf State’s gratitude for Ireland’s early calls for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip as well as for calling out of double standards against Western powers when dealing with the aggression against the besieged Palestinian enclave.
Sheikh Mohamed stressed the need for the international community to address the worsening humanitarian, moral, and legal catastrophe in the Gaza Strip, prioritising the ceasefire and putting an end to all retaliatory operations and random attacks on the Palestinians.
As Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) close in on Indonesian hospitals, Sheikh Mohamed spoke on the significance of the UN sending international investigation teams to look into Israeli reasons for justification to invade healthcare centres.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar expressed his country’s gratitude to Qatar for its mediation efforts to release the hostages.
Hamas captured some 242 Israeli settlers and foreigners during the ‘Al Aqsa Flood’ operation on October 7, in which the Palestinian resistance group managed to penetrate occupied territories through air, land, and sea.
So far, Qatari mediation has led to the release of four captives before talks appeared to stall due to the intensifying of Israeli bombardment.
Ireland’s continued support
Ireland has long advocated for Palestinians, as it was the first EU country to call for the establishment of a Palestinian state in 1980.
Through the country’s policy-making, Ireland opposed economic relations with Israelis when it passed the Occupied Territories Bill, which was conceived to prohibit Ireland from trading goods and services with the occupying state.
The decisive bill was described by the Israeli Government as one of the most anti-Semitic elements of legislation in the world.
In 2021, Ireland became the first EU member state to declare the building of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories as de facto annexation.
In the same year, Irish officials proposed to expel the Israeli ambassador and impose comprehensive sanctions against Israel, but the motion was rejected.
While many European countries express their support for Israel, Ireland has opted to show its solidarity with Palestine.
Early in the war, Irish President Michael Higgins criticised remarks by European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen after she said that the Europeans stood with Israel.
Higgins slammed Leyen, saying she was “not speaking for Ireland, and she wasn’t speaking for the opinions that they hold”.
“I don’t know where the source of those decisions was. I don’t know where the legitimation for it was and I don’t know where the authority for it is and I don’t think it was helpful,” Higgins added.
“It may not have been meant to have malevolent consequences but certainly we need a better performance in relation to European Union diplomacy and practice.”