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Recognising Palestine is a ‘hasty move’

The “majority” of Ireland’s Jewish community believe the Government recognising the State of Palestine is “a very hasty move”, according to the chairman of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland.

Maurice Cohen said that despite recognition of Palestinian statehood being on the cards for some time, it was “quite peculiar” and does not serve a purpose.

It comes as Ireland formally recognised the state of Palestine, following today’s Cabinet meeting.

The decision means the Government now recognises Palestine as a sovereign and independent state and has agreed to establish full diplomatic relations between Dublin and Ramallah.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News At One, Mr Cohen claimed this step will be viewed by Hamas “as a reward for terrorism”.

“It will be seen as a reward for putting their own people at risk and for the thousands of civilians, casualties and people that were murdered, and it is incredible.”

Taoiseach Simon Harris said the decision “is about keeping hope alive”.

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“It is about believing that a two-state solution is the only way for Israel and Palestine to live side by side in peace and security,” he said.

Mr Cohen insisted that instead of recognising the State of Palestine, the Irish Government should “encourage” Hamas to release the Israeli hostages that it holds in Gaza.

“All I hear from the Government is that it is to give the Palestinians hope. To give the Palestinians hope there are many other ways that hope can be given to them,” he said.

“And that is by encouraging Hamas to release the hostages, stop sending rockets into Israel and cease all hostilities and then Israel would have a totally different attitude to what is going on there.”

However, the Cabinet noted the tragic backdrop to today’s announcement, and again called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the release of Israeli hostages and unhindered access for humanitarian aid.

Mr Cohen said it was “strange” that the Government wanted others to uphold international law as under international law, to recognise a state, certain criteria had to be met, which he claimed Palestine lacks.

“International law, as I understand it, would state that to recognise a state there are three or four criteria that have to happen, and one is a defined territory.

“The other is a government, and the ability to enter relations with other states, and Palestine currently does not fit any of those criteria,” Mr Cohen said

He also rejected the Government’s claim that you can recognise a people and not the government.

However, he added that Palestinian people are entitled to a territory and a state.

“And certainly, the Irish Jewish community absolutely believes in a two-state solution, but it has to come about by negotiations, and that is what Ireland should be doing is encouraging the two sides to sit down and talk,” Mr Cohen said.

“We should encourage the Palestinians to have a state under the frameworks that exist and under the natural response, which is to encourage them to sit down and talk together.”

He said it was arrogant of the West to believe it could impose any solution, adding that the only way to hasten a solution was to encourage all parties to stop fighting and sit down and talk.

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