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Access to Justice

How Ireland can respond to Trump’s Jerusalem decision

Church leaders speak out

The move has been rightly denounced by governments around the world, including both the Irish and British governments. 

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney should be congratulated for contacting the US Embassy directly to express Ireland’s concern and belief that President Trump’s announcement would “make progress in the Middle East peace process more difficult”. 

British Prime Minister Teresa May, meanwhile, condemned the move, saying “we [the British government] regard east Jerusalem as part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories”. 

The move has also been denounced by Christian leaders in the region. In a joint letter to President Trump, the thirteen Patriarchs and Heads of local Churches in Jerusalem called on the United States to “continue recognising the present international status of Jerusalem”. 

“Any sudden changes would cause irreparable harm,” they wrote. “We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division.”

Read the joint letter to President Trump from the thirteen Patriarchs and Heads of local Churches in Jerusalem 

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An Israeli soldier checks the contents of a boy’s schoolbag in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Time to recognise Palestine

People with a true interest in a just peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people want to see a future where all people in the region are safe from harm and living with their human rights respected. 

Sadly, while the occupation of Palestinian land continues – and gathers pace in the form of rapid illegal settlement expansion – this is not possible. 

President Trump’s move has given Ireland the opportunity to show leadership on the international stage. 

In December 2014, Dáil Éireann voted unanimously to recognise the state of Palestine. For three years the Government has failed to enact the democratic wishes of the Irish people. 

An appropriate response from the Irish government to President Trump’s announcement would be to finally enact the vote taken in Dáil Éireann on 10 December 2014 and recognise the state of Palestine. 

Such a move would be in keeping with the Programme for Government, which expressed the Government’s intention to do so. More importantly, it would strongly signal Ireland’s belief in a just peace based on equality and respect and give a huge boost to people who believe in a lasting peace settlement that respects the rights of all.

Sweden has already recognised Palestine so there is precedent within the EU for such a move. 

Recognising Palestine as an independent state will give hope that a peace settlement is possible. Following President Trump’s announcement, this is needed now more than ever. 

Find out more about Trócaire’s work in Israel and Palestine

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