Why should the Irish government recognise something that doesn’t yet exist and that Palestinian leaders keep rejecting?
Readers of a certain vintage might recall a 1970s British comedy series called “Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em” in which a bungling Frank Spencer stumbles through an endless series of self-inflicted disasters and gaffes. When it comes to gaffes, it’s easy to be reminded of a lot of Sinn Féin TDs.
We’ve already discussed Réáda Cronin and her bizarre comments on Twitter.Violet Anne Wynne has also had to apologise for and disavow some things she said on social media. Last weekend, Mairéad Farrell posted a very puzzling tweet in which she drew parallels between the 1988 Gibraltar shootings and the use of Shannon Airport by the US military. The same weekend, Donegal TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn defended Roy Greenslade, a British journalist who recently “came out” as a supporter of IRA atrocities, wrote secretly for An Poblacht and even went as far as trying to discredit IRA rape victim, Mairia Cahill. Two other Sinn Féin TDs (Martin Brown and Patricia Ryan) have been in hot water for sharing 9/11 conspiracy theories on social media.
Meanwhile, this week in the Dáíl, Deputy Ryan claimed that “all Jewish settlements in the West Bank are regarded as illegal under international law”. This was part of a question where she quoted the Palestinian Authority (PA) president’s claim that Israel is using the “settlements” to “eliminate any remaining possibility of a two-state solution”. You can watch her question to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar here, where she reads completely from a page, stumbles over a few words and gets the name of the PA president (Mohammed Abbas?) wrong.
Be all that as it may, the assertion about international law is false. International law does not concern itself with the religious leanings of a “settlement” or whatever that might actually mean. The issue is whether or not the people have a right to be there. Under the Oslo Accords, Israel has the right to administer Area C and that’s where the settlements are.
The main obstacle to the emergence of a Palestinian state is that Palestinian leaders keep rejecting all offers, regardless of how generous, while refusing to engage in serious negotiations. They said no in 2000, they said no in 2008, and they rejected Trump’s 2020 deal before it was even released.Even their fellow Arabs are wondering: if they really want a state, why do they keep turning down all offers of one?
Deputy Ryan’s question to Leo Varadkar was about when the Irish government would recognise the state of Palestine. As per the examples above, it’s far from being the strangest thing ever uttered by a Sinn Féin TD but why should the Irish government recognise something that doesn’t yet exist and that Palestinian leaders keep rejecting?
By Ciarán Ó Raghallaigh