Tuesday, 18 June 2019
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Middle East Peace Process
51. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps he will take to halt Israeli policies aimed at the de facto annexation of East Jerusalem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25215/19]
74. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to a report (details supplied); his views on whether the unilateral policies of Israel would exacerbate the conflict in and over Jerusalem and harm hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in East Jerusalem; the steps he will take to object to the precedent for Israeli annexationist ambitions in the West Bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25214/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 51 and 74 together.
Annexation of territory by force is illegal under international law, including the UN Charter, and the position of Ireland and the EU is clear. This is a fundamental principle of the relation of States and the rule of law in the modern world. Annexation by Israel of occupied territory, including in East Jerusalem, has no legitimacy, and would not be recognised or accepted by Ireland or the international community more generally.
Jerusalem is one of the permanent status issues which is to be settled in a final peace agreement in the Middle East. Ireland and the EU stand by the internationally agreed parameters for a negotiated peace agreement and continue to urge the Israeli Government to uphold its international legal obligations, including under the Fourth Geneva Convention, on the treatment of a civilian population. Annexation of that part of Jerusalem, which Palestinians rightly hope will eventually serve as the capital, would inevitably have a negative impact on the viability of the two-state solution and on the prospect of a just and lasting solution to the conflict.
Ireland has consistently taken action at both EU and UN levels to ensure that the international community retains a focus on the Israel-Palestine issue. The situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory remains high on my agenda and I am committed to do everything I can to make a positive contribution to support credible efforts to resume negotiations and to advance the Middle East Peace Process.
I am aware of the recent report to which the Deputy refers and am concerned by the issues raised in the findings. My Department, including our Missions in Ramallah and in Tel Aviv, follow this matter carefully and report regularly on developments.
Ireland continues to provide humanitarian assistance and to support specific development projects to improve the situation of Palestinians, including in East Jerusalem. For example, Ireland recently supported the preparation of a report on the status of Palestinian education in East Jerusalem, where the imposition of the Israeli curriculum on Palestinian communities is a deeply worrying development. Ireland also funds a number of NGOs that are active on human rights issues which arise in East Jerusalem.
Ireland will continue to closely monitor the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and to convey our concerns in all relevant international fora and directly with the Israeli authorities.