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Some view the Republic of Ireland as the most anti-Israeli country in Europe, depending on who you ask. I like to view Ireland as the State of Palestine’s only ally; not just in Europe but probably worldwide. Ireland recently piqued my interest with its stand and comments regarding the Ukraine- Russian conflict. They were the first and only nation during the EU emergency meetings at the European Parliament in April 2022 to remind people that refugees and the Palestinian people have endured humanitarian and war crimes for much longer, as the world remained silent.

Why is this article important? Over the years, especially recently, we have seen the country’s policies shift to a more hostile approach towards Israel. This is incredibly heartening to the Palestinian people as they receive less and less support from neighboring Arab nations. While these countries may have held their ground initially (like Turkey and Saudi Arabia), there now seems to be a trend in the normalizing of relations with Israel. Knowing countries are calling out Israel and fighting for Palestinian rights gives hope that the world has not fully turned its back on Palestine.

Maintaining relationships and respecting allies was a practice followed by the Prophet

ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)
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. The Prophet
ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)
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once wanted the help of Safwan bin Umayyah
raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)
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, who was a non-Muslim at the time of the battle of Hunayn. When the Prophet
ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)
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asked Safwan to lend him weapons -when he was still under his cousin’s protection and had not yet embraced Islam-, he asked the Prophet
ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)
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, “To take by force, Oh Muhammad?” To which the Prophet
ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)
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replied, “No, a secure loan (i.e. we guarantee we will return them or their value).” [related by Abu Dawud, 3526]

Malik Ibn Anas

raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)
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said, “There is no harm in seeking their (non-muslim) assistance in a time of need.” [At-Tahrīr wat-Tanwīr of Ibn ʿĀshūr 1/74] Another example of allying or building relationships with non-Muslims is in that of the time after having migrating to Madinah, the Prophet
ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)
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created an agreement with the Jews of Madinah. It was a deal of being neighborly to another and not violating each other’s rights. Giving credit where credit is due and honoring those that stand with us is the least we can do. It is clearly stated in the Qur’an:
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“Allāh does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who did not fight against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allāh loves those who deal with equity.” [Surat Al-Mumtaĥanah: 60;8]

Recognition of Palestine

In 2000, Ireland established a representative office in Ramallah, and Palestine has a representative office in Dublin. Ireland is giving us real-life examples that Muslim countries could learn from. Here are four more examples of how Ireland stands by Palestine as an ally:

1. Anti-Occupation Bill
In 2018 an Irish senator, Senator Frances Black, introduced the “Occupied Territories Bill”, where Ireland would ban all Israeli settlement goods in their country. The bill sparked outrage from Israel, saying that Ireland is targeting the only democratic nation in the Middle East. Their response was noble and true. Senator Frances Black tweeted regarding Israel’s statement, “Ireland will always stand for international law + human rights, & we’re one step closer to making history. Onwards!” Those found guilty of importing or selling goods from Golan Height, East Jerusalem, or the West Bank’s illegal settlements would be fined 250,000 euros (roughly $284,000) or face five years in jail. This bill passed the first stage of five in 2019, and although today it is not yet a law, it has generated tremendous dialogue around the illegal occupation.

2. Raising the Palestinian Flag

In 2017, Dublin raised the Palestinian flag at their city hall to mark the 50 years of the Israeli occupation. It won majority approval and was raised for a month despite criticism and complaint made by Israel regarding the flag being raised.

3. Funding of humanitarian projects in Gaza.

Ireland is funding multiple developmental and humanitarian projects in the Gaza strip. For those unaware, the Gaza strip has been described as the largest open-air prison in the world, where over two million Palestinians are sieged. The projects Ireland is funding include water desalination, solar energy projects, and medical facilities. The Irish government has even visited Gaza to oversee the implementation themselves. These initiatives are a great effort by a nation to help and support the Palestinian people and raise them from the humiliating situation they are in.

4. Most Irish people are Pro-Palestinian

Let us not forget that Ireland is a victim of British colonialism, and it is this experience that makes them ally with the Palestinian people. Here is how the Irish relate to them based on past experiences:

– At the League of Nations, Prime Minister Eamonn De Valera criticized the carve-up as inhumane and oppressive, a resentful repeat of Ireland’s division by the British 15 years earlier. The Irish political opinion saw the shift of its attitude towards Zionism very much through the focus point of the British. If the Zionists and the British are on the same side of the partition, then we can’t support the Zionist settlement.

Once the Zionist movement accepted the division of Palestine, the Irish began to draw unflattering similarities between Israeli policies and their divided reality. To many of the Irish, the Jewish state now looked less like a besieged religious society struggling courageously for its natural rights and more like a colony illegitimately installed by the British army with the intent of imposing itself on the indigenous population.

– During the Lebanese Civil War, Israel’s practices -where 30,000 Irish soldiers served as peacekeepers-, soured attitudes even more. The deaths of several Irish soldiers by Israeli forces were why Dublin did not open an Israeli embassy until 1993. Ireland was the first to acknowledge the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the 80s. By recognizing the PLO, other nations started to do the same.

The Irish government can use its pull in the EU and the UN to convince other states of its position towards Palestine. They do sit on the security council. They can be an ally for Muslims for the sake of Palestine. We must recognize how important it is to have partners in various positions in various parts of the world. There is an emotional connection with the Palestinian people, a connection that every oppressed group around the world should feel. Oppression is evil regardless the race, religion, or gender. You would think more people worldwide would sympathize with Palestine, given the horrid nature of our history. How many genocides, massacres, wars, and ethnic cleansing has happened since World War 2?

When will Muslim nations follow the lead of Ireland and build that hospitable relationship with Palestine? Most Muslim countries have also  endured hardship through colonization. The population in Muslim countries understand what it means to be seized by a foreign power. Besides the fact, they are our Muslim brothers and sisters in Islam. There are multiple reasons to stand with the Palestinian people and not forget them.

This idea may seem simplistic, and one might argue that they are being pressured to be pro-Zionist in trade and policy. That might be the case for the impoverished, but not for many influential and wealthy nations that chose to support relations with Israel. Saudi Arabia is a country that supported the Palestinian cause and shut the oil valve on the US, and brought America to its knees. Today they are building positive relationships with Israel at the expense of our Palestinian brothers and sisters.

The same goes for Turkey, a country voluntarily choosing to develop relations with Israel. These nations, and those like them, are only looking out for their interests at the end of the day. If that means making a deal with the devil, then so be it.

Calling out Murder

Some woke to the horrific news of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed by Israeli forces, then another journalist shortly after. World leaders stood silent as Irish MP Mary Lou McDonald said this, “There is a long-established pattern of the Israeli State targeting journalists who are covering the brutal occupation of Palestine. And this systematic targeting has resulted in complaints being filed with the International Criminal Court and with the United Nations.”

Micheal Martin said: “I condemn the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and the media freedom and the safety of journalists must be protected and as an extra obligation on State forces to ensure the protection of journalists and we express our deepest condolences to her family.”

Ireland sees the obvious, unlike its European counterpart. While the world is pushing for “peace talks”. Few know the reality that surrendering is what Israel wants, not a solution. Their version of peace is complete control of the region. A conversation between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people is equivalent to a dialogue between the colonists and the liberation movement.

I strongly respect Ireland for its understanding of what is at stake regarding its global presence, and helping the Palestinians regardless; reminding other nations too that what is on the line is an independent country and its people deserving of dignity, respect, and human rights – as with any other. Anything less is not acceptable. Despite thousands of Palestinians’ misery, pain, destruction, and death, their spirit is as straight as an arrow. I wish more governments could see what Ireland sees and how it is standing up for the rights of the State of Palestine.

 

Related reading:

Why Israel Should Be ‘Singled Out’ For Its Human Rights Record

Why Israel Should Be ‘Singled Out’ For Its Human Rights Record

Palestine in the Islamic Consciousness

Palestine in the Islamic Consciousness 

 

The post Ireland: A Stalwart Ally Of The Palestinian People appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Source: Muslim Matters