Written answers

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Middle East

Photo of Catherine ConnollyCatherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent)
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144. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on whether the 1993 Oslo Accords did not result in devolved authority to the Palestinians for public health in view of the emphasis he placed on respect for international law and agreed international parameters in his recent statement to the UN Security Council on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question; his further views on whether Israel is the occupying power which exercises full control over the lives of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories; his further views on whether Israel therefore has a responsibility under international law, in particular, the fourth Geneva Convention, and a moral obligation to provide the Covid-19 vaccine to Palestinians; his further views on whether Ireland has a responsibility to put pressure on Israel to abide by these obligations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9358/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Ireland advocates prioritising the vaccination of the most vulnerable communities in developing countries, including the occupied Palestinian territory.

Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have responsibilities to ensure the welfare of citizens in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Israel’s responsibility as the occupying power. I am aware of the differing views between Israel and the Palestinian Authority regarding their respective duties and the frustration at a lack of resolution.

Ireland has raised the matter with both Israeli and Palestinian authorities in recent days and we continue to encourage cooperation. I spoke with the Palestinian Prime Minister on 16 February and he updated me on progress made on provision of Covid-19 vaccines for the Palestinian people, including through the COVAX mechanism, to which Ireland is contributing.

As I outlined in my statement to the UN Security Council on 26 January, ending the worst effects of the pandemic for all requires constructive cooperation to support timely, effective and unimpeded vaccination in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Ireland will continue to engage on supporting vaccination efforts in the occupied Palestinian territory and more broadly to the most vulnerable globally.

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