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Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. (Photo: Liam Lysaght, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

On St. Patrick’s Day, Varadkar delivered a passionate speech at the White House, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and highlighting similarities between Palestinian and Irish histories.

In a surprise move, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced on Wednesday that he would resign and also give up his role as leader of the Fine Gael party, Reuters news agency reported. 

“My reasons for stepping down are both personal and political,” Varadkar, 45, said during a “hastily arranged news conference at government buildings in Dublin, sounding emotional as he spoke,” Reuters noted.

“I believe that a new Taoiseach (prime minister) and a new leader will be better placed than me to achieve that (the coalition government’s re-election),” he reportedly added.

The surprise move does not automatically entail a general election. Varadkar will be replaced as prime minister as soon as his successor as party leader takes office. A new election will be held by March 2025.

“Politicians are human beings and we have our limitations,” he said. “We give it everything until we can’t anymore. And then we have to move on.”

Varadkar added that his reasons for stepping down were “mainly political” but did not elaborate further.

‘Our History in Their Eyes’

Speaking at the annual St. Patrick’s Day reception at the White House on Sunday, the Irish prime minister pointed out that the Irish sympathize with the Palestinian people because of their common history.

Varadkar said that Irish people are “deeply troubled” by what is happening in Gaza because “we see our history in their eyes. 

“A story of displacement, of dispossession, a national identity, questions are denied, forced emigration, discrimination and now hunger,” he said, adding that “the people in Gaza (…) need the bombs to stop.”

Gaza Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 31,923 Palestinians have been killed, and 74,096 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba. 

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire.’

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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