Speaking on the Palestinian Nakba Day, marking the 1948 Palestinian dispersion, Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Seán Crowe, member the Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish parliament, said that the recognition of the State of Palestine must be a priority for the next Government, whatever its makeup.
The Dublin South West TD said that it had been almost six years since the Dáil unanimously passed a Sinn Féin motion that called for this State to formally recognize the State of Palestine and it was part of the program for the last government, but never acted upon.
"I want to take this opportunity to remember and mark Nakba Day, a pivotal moment in the history of the Palestinian people when they were forced in their hundreds of thousands to leave their homeland, never to return. It is important that today we commemorate and remember the more than 700,000 Palestinians who were forced to flee from their homes during the 1948 Palestine war," said Crowe.
"Since 1948, Israel has denied these Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homeland, despite UN Resolutions 194 and international law upholding this right of return. Unfortunately, the policy of forced displacement of Palestinians continues today," he added.
"The outgoing government continually dragged its heels on recognizing the Palestinian State, despite a Program for Government commitment, but the next government, whatever its makeup, must make a principled stand for peace and progress in the Middle East. Their continued and worn out mantra that 'the time is not right' insults the Irish people's intelligence and is simply not good enough."
Crowe added, "The recognition of the State of Palestine by an Irish government would send a strong message of solidarity and is the correct path to move forward.
"It is also timely as the current coalition Israeli government was formed on the policy of further encroachment into Palestinian lands and the annexation of the West Bank.
"A Sinn Féin motion in the Dáil that called on the then government to recognize the State of Palestine was passed unanimously in December of 2014.
"That democratic motion needs to be recognized and acted upon now.
"I am calling on the Irish Government to not only formally recognize the State of Palestine, but ensure by every diplomatic means available to press Israel to end its ongoing forced displacement of Palestinians, to abandon its proposed annexation of the West Bank, end its apartheid laws, to abide by international law and recognize the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and their homeland."