Written answers

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Department of Foreign Affairs

Asylum Applications

10:00 am

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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Question 218: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the plight of a person (details supplied); if he will make representations on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39458/09]

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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This case was brought to the attention of my Department by Bethlehem University at the end of last week. At that stage, unfortunately, our enquiries revealed that the person concerned had already been forcibly returned to Gaza on the day she was detained. I understand that she is still in Gaza at present.

Through our Missions in Tel Aviv and Ramallah, we have brought this case to the attention of the EU Presidency and partners on the ground, who will follow closely any developments in the case.

There appears to be no credible justification for forcing the person concerned to return to Gaza, and preventing her from completing her studies, simply because she came from there originally. There does not seem to be any question – or suggestion - of any security danger relating to her presence in Bethlehem. It should be obvious that young Palestinians like her, who despite her difficult background is just a few weeks short of graduating with a Degree in Business, represent the best hope for a peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians alike, and should be encouraged.

This Israeli action has very negative implications for the future of Bethlehem University and the ability of young Palestinians to receive third level education. I call upon the Israeli authorities to reverse this apparently unjustified and mistaken action, and allow the person concerned to return to Bethlehem immediately.

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