Ireland's historical interest and strong support for the Palestinian cause sets it apart from other European Union countries. The main reasons for this are historical similarities and the country's uncompromising approach to human rights.
Today, Ireland has been the strongest voice in the European Union in the face of the humanitarian tragedy in Gaza.
From ordinary citizens to politicians, many want the government to continue to stand up more strongly for the rights of Palestinians.
Ireland's perception of Israel underwent a significant transformation as the country grappled with its own anti-British rebellion and a painful civil war that left Northern Ireland under British control.
Until the early 1900s, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were part of the United Kingdom.
However, the Irish War of Independence, also known as the Anglo-Irish War, which took place between 1919 and 1921, separated Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland.
For many in Ireland, Israel therefore resembles a colonial entity, forcibly established by British influence, determined to assert itself over the indigenous population.
This view has been reinforced by Israel's post-1967 actions, particularly its occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Israel's illegal seizure of Palestinian land and the Palestinian people's struggle against it is reminiscent of Ireland's struggle against the British government.
This strong bond between two nations separated by geography but united by a yearning for justice and freedom continues to shape Ireland's international discourse and advocacy for Palestinian rights.
Since joining the European Union in 1973, Ireland has taken a leading role in championing the Palestinian cause in Europe.
In 1980, the country was the first EU member to call for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
In 1993, Ireland was the last EU member to open an embassy in Israel, strengthening the Palestinian people's resolve to stand in solidarity with the country.
Today, in the midst of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Ireland is once again raising the strongest voice in the EU.
While many European countries have offered their "full support" to Israel, Ireland has once again chosen to show solidarity with Palestine.
Irish President Michael Higgins criticized European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying that von der Leyen "does not speak for Ireland".
"The Irish people wholeheartedly support the Palestinian people"
James Quigley, a representative of the Belfast Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), said that Ireland's perspective on the Palestinian struggle is rooted in its own historical struggles and has a deep empathy for the Palestinian cause.
"The Irish people have a proud history of fighting against colonialism," Quigley said, "so we know what it's like to fight against occupation. But at the same time, our suffering is nothing compared to what Palestinians have suffered for the last 75 years under apartheid occupation, ethnic cleansing."
"The Irish people wholeheartedly support the Palestinian people," Quigley said, adding that he sees the Palestinian struggle as a struggle for humanity.
"There was an apartheid state in South Africa and we defeated it. We will defeat the apartheid state in Israel with the strength of the Palestinians and our solidarity," Quigley said.
"Our goal in Ireland is to build a greater solidarity movement"
Gerry Carroll, a politician from Northern Ireland's People Before Profit Alliance party, pointed to the widespread pro-Palestinian sentiment in Ireland and said: "There are no attempts to criminalize Palestinian protests in Ireland, especially in European countries like Germany and France."
"Suella Braverman, the UK Home Secretary, has said that in some cases it may be illegal to wave the Palestinian flag. We have not yet seen such attempts in Ireland."
Carroll said that Irish people characterize what is happening in Palestine as "state terrorism, genocide" and used the following expressions:
"That's why I think our task as Ireland is to create a greater solidarity movement on Palestine by making connections with people in other European and global countries. People here still think that the Irish government is weak on this issue. So the government needs to respond to these demands. For example, taking in Palestinian refugees could be one of them."
"The EU is complicit"
Sue Pentel, who works for a non-governmental organization representing Jews in Ireland, emphasized the important role Ireland can play in advocating for Palestinian rights in the international arena.
"The EU is complicit. Last week, the EU questioned aid to Palestinians from Gaza to the West Bank to Jerusalem, whose rights are being trampled on by this racist government. And they are still questioning it. This is because Israel is portraying itself as the victim."
Stating that violence against Palestinians has been going on since the establishment of Israel, Pentel said, "As a Jew with family in Israel, I have to be very, very clear about this. The siege in Gaza, the occupation. The violence in the West Bank makes me angry. I am ashamed. How can I be proud of a government that says it is doing this in my name?"
Bobby, a restaurant worker in Belfast who declined to give his surname, said they were supporting Palestine by raising money through the sale of t-shirts.Emphasizing that their efforts are part of a movement where the whole country rallies behind the Palestinian cause, Bobby said: "We are not the only ones helping them, the whole country supports the Palestinian cause. We are doing what we can for them."
Ireland's stand in support of Palestine is seen not only as a sign of domestic unity, but also as a call for a broader international coalition against the injustices faced by the Palestinian people.Voices from Ireland emphasize that this is not just a political issue but a humanitarian one, reflecting a sense that this is truly the defining issue of our time.