Thomas Hand, whose Irish-Israeli daughter Emily Hand was released from Hamas captivity in November, said this week that he is "ashamed" to be Irish after the Irish Government formally recognized the State of Palestine

"I've been a very proud Irishman all my life," Thomas Hand told Reuters this week, according to RTE News.

"I advertise the fact, I tell people, 'Yes, I'm Irish.'

"I'm not so proud anymore. I'm actually embarrassed, ashamed, to call myself Irish now."

Thomas admitted that the Irish Government was "integral" in securing the return of his daughter Emily in November.

"Okay, she's only an individual," Thomas told Reuters, "but she was, is, an Irish citizen, and then knowing everything, knowing everything that Hamas has done, I'm sure they've seen the videos of their GoPros, they've seen all the evidence.

"Uh, okay, here is your reward then, for absolute violence.

"Here's your reward - we recognize you as a state. Nice one."

Thomas continued: "I don't mind pro-Palestine, but when you're pro-Hamas, that's a different ballgame. You're supporting that? It's wrong."

Thomas said they're "praying" for the war to end, adding: "All they (Hamas) have to do is hand over the hostages and the war is over."

The father of an Irish-Israeli girl was who kidnapped by Hamas during the 7 October attacks has criticised the Government for its recognition of a Palestinian state. Tom Hand said the move ‘rewarded’ Hamas.


— RTÉ News (@rtenews) June 7, 2024

Thomas, a native of Dublin who lived in England before moving to Israel in 1992, was initially told that his daughter Emily, a dual Irish-Israeli citizen, was killed during the October 7 Hamas attacks in Israel.

He made headlines when he told CNN he felt it was a "blessing" that his daughter had been killed as opposed to being kidnapped by Hamas.

However, later in October, Thomas was informed there was a "high chance" that Emily was, in fact, still alive and likely taken hostage.

Along with the families of other hostages, Thomas traveled to both Ireland - where he met with Irish political leaders - and the US to drum up support for not only the release of his daughter but also the other hostages.

On November 21, Qatar announced that successful joint meditation efforts involving Israel, Hamas, Egypt, and the US resulted in an agreement for a humanitarian pause as well as the release of hostages.

Emily was part of the second group of hostages released on November 25, just days after her ninth birthday.

In an interview with Piers Morgan in January, Thomas said his daughter is "as tough as nails." 

Discussing his daughter's treatment in captivity, Thomas admitted: “As far as terrorists go, they were reasonably good."

Thomas told Reuters this week that Emily is on track for a full recovery. 

On May 22, Ireland, along with Spain and Norway, announced that it would be formally recognizing the State of Palestine, which it did on May 28.

The formal recognition of Palestine means that the Irish Government recognizes Palestine as a sovereign and independent state and opens diplomatic relations between Dublin and Ramallah. 

On the formal recognition, Taoiseach Simon Harris said: “This decision of Ireland is about keeping hope alive.

"It is about believing that a two-state solution is the only way for Israel and Palestine to live side by side in peace and security."