Ireland said likely to recognize Palestinian state after Israeli legalization of settlements


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Ireland will likely recognize a Palestinian state, Israel’s ambassador to the country reportedly warned in a cable to Jerusalem.

Zeev Boker sent the cautionary dispatch Tuesday, Haaretz reported. Israel had already expected Dublin would officially recognize Palestine, and the Knesset’s recent passage of a law to legalize thousands of West Bank settlements strengthened that assessment, an Israeli official told the Israeli daily.

Lawmakers on Monday passed the “regulation law,” which allows the government to seize land on which settlements were built as long as the settlers were not aware of the status of the land. The Palestinian landowners are entitled to compensation.

Nations around the world have condemned the law, as has the United Nations, the European Union and the Palestinians. The United States has stayed silent. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Tuesday that it “will be obviously a topic of discussion” when President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet Feb. 15.

The Israeli official said Boker proposed working to block the move by having Netanyahu call his Irish counterpart, Enda Kenny, and asking the Trump administration to intervene, according to Haaretz.

In separate 2014 motions, the upper and lower houses of Ireland’s Parliament urged their government to recognize a state of Palestine, and Irish ministers later said they were considering the matter.

Ireland was the first European country to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization and has traditionally been one of Israel’s harshest critics in the EU.

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