Dáil debates

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Israeli Settlements

11:50 am

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The demolition by Israel of structures belonging to inhabitants of occupied territory, including both Palestinian territory and the Golan, is in almost all cases illegal under international law, in our view. This includes structures provided by the EU or its member states as humanitarian relief in the form of emergency shelters for people or animals, schools, and structures for water and power supply, such as water tanks and solar panels.

Ireland is a member of the West Bank Protection Consortium, comprising nine EU members plus the ECHO Directorate General of the European Commission, which deals with humanitarian relief. Since late 2017, consortium donors have sought compensation or restitution for structures funded by the consortium or its members which have been demolished or confiscated. To date, there have been three such requests for compensation. Israeli authorities have replied that these structures had no planning permission. This ignores the fact that the Israeli authorities systematically refuse to grant such permission to local communities. The purpose of this action is to highlight the unacceptability of these practices, and to seek restitution for the loss to European taxpayers. The principle, rather than the money, was the main focus of the action.

I believe that it is right that the EU and its member states should consistently seek compensation from Israel for the demolition or confiscation of such structures. My officials have also pressed for this to happen at EU level. However, there is not yet agreement among EU members to do so.


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