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Israeli official: Ireland soon to recognize Palestine in response to settlement expansion

Feb. 9, 2017 4:58 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 14, 2017 3:31 P.M.)
(Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny (left) with British Prime Minister Theresa May (right))
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Israeli Ambassador to Ireland relayed a warning to the Israeli government on Tuesday that the Irish parliament would soon move to recognize the state of Palestine, according to Israeli media.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Zeev Boker warned the Israeli government that Ireland’s recognition of a Palestinian state was fast approaching, owing much to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s advancement of some 6,000 new illegal settler units on occupied Palestinian land and the recent passage of the outpost Regularization bill which has paved the way for the retroactive legalization of dozens of Israeli settler outposts.

An unidentified Israeli official was cited by Haaretz as saying that Boker was working to block the recognition by appealing to the new ultra right-wing US administration led by President Donald Trump to put pressure on the Irish government.

Netanyahu is also expected to discuss the issue with Ireland’s ambassador to Israel, Enda Kenny, according to Haaretz.

Earlier this week, Ireland was one of five European countries that opposed a summit between the European Union (EU) and Israel scheduled for Feb. 26 as a result of the dramatic uptick of settlement expansion policies spearheaded by the Israeli government in recent weeks. The countries' opposition caused the meeting to be postponed.

In December 2014, Irish lawmakers urged their government to recognize Palestine as a state 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".

Sweden became the first Western European country to recognize the state of Palestine in 2014. Since then, support for recognizing a Palestinian state has surged in Europe through various government resolutions and pro-Palestinian activism, particularly following Israel’s devastating military offensive in 2014 which killed more than 2,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom were civilians.

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