The Irish government decided Tuesday to upgrade the Palestinian diplomatic mission in the country.
Ireland is the first European Union member to announce such a move, which was initiated by the Irish foreign minister. However, the upgrade does not constitute Irish recognition of a Palestinian state.
The Irish Foreign Ministry made it clear that in spite of its decision to upgrade the status of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Dublin, it is in no way an embassy, nor does it receive the full diplomatic privileges and immunities. Those will only be given
if Ireland were to recognize a Palestinian state officially.
The ministry noted that the decision supports Ireland's long time support for the establishment of a Palestinian state and the Palestinian Authority's progress in constructing its institutions.
Israel fears other European countries may follow suit, as is the case in Latin America, where a number of countries, including Brazil, Chile and Argentina, have recognized a "free and sovereign" Palestinian state over the past few months. Peru recognized "Palestine" on Monday.
"Israel regrets Ireland's move, but is not surprised by it due to (Ireland's) biased policy regarding the conflict over the years," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Foreign Ministry's Communications Director of Yossi Levy said Dublin's decision "does not advance the peace process because it bolsters the Palestinians' illusion that they can advance their goals without returning to the negotiation table."
In February Peru is scheduled to host the Summit of South American-Arab Countries (ASPA). Israel is concerned that during the summit Brazil may initiate a resolution under which more Latin American countries will recognize a Palestinian state.
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