The shared HISTORICAL links between IRELAND and PALESTINE

The shared HISTORICAL links between IRELAND and PALESTINE.

Ireland has always been a country that has helped and supported other nations worldwide, especially in turbulent times. 

Palestine is a perfect example of this since Ireland has openly been supportive as Palestine strives to overcome war and seek political freedom. 

This article will explore the many shared historical ties between both nations, uncovering the deep, long-standing relationship between two very similar nations with a shared past.

British colonialism – a shared historical tie

A vintage map from 1921 displaying the territories of the British Empire, including its colonies, dominions, and territories around the world.
Credit: Wikimedia / Vadac

One of the main historical links between Ireland and Palestine goes back to their colonial past. Both have been under British rule throughout the years, with Ireland being the first colonial ‘experiment’, while Palestine was its last. 

Palestine was under British rule for around thirty years, from 1917 until 1948, and Ireland remained under British rule for 700 years. Part of Ireland successfully gained independence in 1921.

Because of this pivotal time in history, both nations recognise the struggles and hardships that come with being a suppressed colony, which is what has led Ireland to be a strong supporter of Palestine. 

To this day, Ireland, among many other nations, supports Palestine as it continues to strive for its complete independence from Israel.

One of the primary historic ties between Ireland and Palestine dates back to 1980 when Ireland was the first country in the European Union to endorse the idea of a free Palestinian State. 

Since Ireland has had its fair share of history regarding the fight for independence, many Irish republicans and government officials have empathised with Palestine and their struggle for freedom. 

In 2011, the Foreign Affairs Minister stated that Ireland would indeed “lead the change” regarding Palestine’s statehood. In 2024, this step is still in process, with Irish people consistently supporting this issue.

Partitions & violence – nations with similar experiences

Collage photo showcasing the ruins in Cork, Ireland, circa 1920, juxtaposed with the ruins in Gaza, Palestine, in 2023. This image illustrates the historical parallels between Ireland and Palestine, highlighting the impact of conflict and resilience in both regions.
Credit: Flickr / National Library of Ireland on The Commons; Wikimedia / Wafa

It was during the early 20th century that both nations were resisting occupation by British rule, which marks a pivotal moment in the history of both nations. 

In 1921, Ireland divided into Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, while the partition of Palestine occurred in 1948, significantly impacting the population.

Both nations have experienced violence, oppression, and persecution, which has brought the two closer, with many murals of support for Palestine seen through Ireland and Northern Ireland to this very day. 

Furthermore, they both share a profound historical bond characterized by unmatched strength and resistance.

Additionally, while conflicts in Ireland were often framed as religious clashes between Catholics and Protestants, a similar dynamic can be observed in Palestine, where it manifests as tensions between Muslims and Jews.

As we all know, this is almost always an anti-colonial struggle rather than a flight between religious groups. 

Language and identity – striving for recognition

Collage photo depicting protests in Ireland and Palestine, showcasing the voices of dissent and solidarity from both regions. Images capture the passion and resilience of demonstrators advocating for change in Ireland and Palestine.
Credits: Wikimedia/ Gillfoto; Pexels/ TIMO

In addition to other historical ties between Ireland and Palestine, we observe similarities in the realm of official languages.

Irish served as Ireland’s official language until colonization, after which it was banned, and communication mandated in English exclusively.

Only in 2021 did the Irish language attain full official status in the EU, with Northern Ireland granting it official language status in 2022.

Similarly, in Palestine, parallels emerge as Israel altered street signs, excluding Arabic in favour of Hebrew, thereby posing a threat to the Palestinian language and identity.

From their turbulent colonial pasts under British Rule to the recognition of their language and identity, both Ireland and Palestine have plenty in common. 

It goes without saying that Ireland is one of the most pro-Palestinian nations in Europe, with Irish and Northern Irish citizens seeing a mirror image of themselves and their historical situations in Palestine

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