Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
57. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the increase in illegal Israeli colonial settlements in Palestine; and the actions he will take in the face of continued Israeli violations of international law. [3885/20]
Ireland's position on settlement expansion, related infrastructure development, demolition of Palestinian homes and other buildings, and forced removal of Palestinians from their homes, is extremely clear. For example, I made a statement in November 2019 reaffirming our long held position, as follows:
“Ireland’s position on Israeli settlements remains clear and unchanged. Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, notably the Fourth Geneva Convention. This is also the EU position.
The views of the international community on settlements have been comprehensively expressed on multiple occasions, including in UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of 2016.
Not only are settlements illegal, but they actively undermine the prospects for a two-state solution. Ireland remains steadfast in its support for a comprehensive two-state solution which is in the best interest of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.”
I have also commented publically on the recent increase in settlement announcements in and near East Jerusalem, to which the Deputy refers. My statement released on 21 February following the announcements in Har Homa and Givat Hamatos was as follows:
“I condemn the latest announcement on further settlement construction and expansion in parts of East Jerusalem. All settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory is very clearly illegal under international law.
The construction of settlements in the Har Homa and Givat Hamatos areas in East Jerusalem would be a significant step, undermining the viability and territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian State. I urge the Israeli Government to desist from any further steps in relation to these specific settlement plans, and to halt all settlement construction.”
Our Ambassador in Tel Aviv conveyed Ireland’s position directly to the Israeli authorities on 27 February, along with a number of other EU colleagues. I also welcomed the statement by EU HRVP Borrell on 28 February condemning the recent announcements, including those in Area E1. The Israel/Palestine conflict is also due to be discussed at the EU Foreign Affairs Council later this month.
Ireland’s longstanding support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains an integral aspect of our foreign policy, which I will continue to prioritise.