Shropshire Star

Taoiseach working to ‘grow support’ for Palestine among fellow EU nations

Simon Harris said he discussed the conflict in his first call with US President Joe Biden.

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Simon Harris

Taoiseach Simon Harris has said his government is working to “grow support” for Palestine among fellow European Union nations.

Mr Harris said there must be “full accountability” for the civilian deaths caused by the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Ireland, along with Spain and Norway, formally recognised a Palestinian state in a symbolic decision earlier this year.

In response, Israel withdrew its ambassadors from the countries and formally reprimanded their envoys in Tel Aviv.

The Taoiseach described Israel’s attempts to use the recognition as justification for settlements in the West Bank as “pathetic”.

The Fine Gael leader said he had discussed the conflict in his first call with US President Joe Biden.

“I spoke yesterday to President Biden, and spoke specifically on behalf of Ireland about the importance of an immediate ceasefire,” he told the Dail.

“The President agreed that there was a need for a two-state solution.”

Mr Harris continued: “My question to everybody is ‘what more can we do to bring about the circumstances where a ceasefire can be achieved?’

“There has to be full accountability for all civilian deaths and war crimes that have been committed.

“We continue to try and grow support… at an EU level.

“We’ve seen Ireland’s decision along with Norway and Spain to recognise the state of Palestine being used as some sort of pathetic justification for the illegal settlements in the West Bank.

“We continue to do all that we can”.

Quizzed about his backing for President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Mr Harris insisted the German was a supporter of Palestine.

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President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen (Joe Giddens/PA)

Ms von der Leyen looks likely to stay on as president for another five years after a strong showing for her centre-right European People’s Party parliamentary group at the recent European election.

“When it comes to President von der Leyen, I think there’s a serious misrepresentation of her view in this country by some, some for political gain during the political elections,” he said.

“I haven’t heard any country in the European Union actively propose another name.”

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