Written answers

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Middle East

Photo of Matt CarthyMatt Carthy (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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72. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the proposed timeframe to honour the Government commitment to recognise the state of Palestine. [46477/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The Programme for Government states that the Government will “Honour our commitment to recognise the State of Palestine as part of a lasting settlement of the conflict, or in advance of that, when we believe doing so will progress efforts to reach a two-State solution or protect the integrity of Palestinian territory”. 

As I set out in my reply to the Deputy’s question on this issue in May, I have been clear that, in the absence of progress towards a two-State solution, I would be prepared to recommend to the Government early recognition by Ireland of a State of Palestine, if and when it might be helpful.

Recognition by Ireland outside the context of an overall peace agreement would, however, be likely to affect Ireland’s influence on the Israel-Palestine conflict at EU and international level. Timing and context would affect whether such a loss of influence would be matched by a commensurate benefit for the Palestinian people and a positive impact on the peace process and a two-State solution.

Photo of Ivana BacikIvana Bacik (Dublin Bay South, Labour)
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73. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on a current campaign (details supplied) which seeks to raise awareness about the intimidation, harassment and obstruction faced routinely by Palestinian children as they try to get safely to their classrooms in the West Bank, Gaza and the occupied territories and about the seriously detrimental impact for their education, safety and welfare. [47067/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I remain gravely concerned by the ongoing human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and particularly the impact on children and their access to education. Ireland has repeatedly emphasised that the rights of children to protection, safety, and well-being must be upheld at all times.

I fully endorse the statement of 9 September 2021 by European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, on the International Day to Protect Education from Attack, which underlined that attacks on education constitute violations of International Humanitarian Law.

Ireland has been active on this issue in the UN Security Council. In my address to the Council on 16 May, I expressed Ireland’s deep concern at the plight of children in the occupied Palestinian territory. I stressed that all violations against children must end, including and in particular attacks on schools.

Ireland is a strong supporter of education for Palestinian youth, which is crucial for the long-term economic viability of a Palestinian state. Ireland is a longstanding supporter of UNRWA’s delivery of services, including quality education, to 5.7 million registered Palestine refugees.

This year, Ireland has contributed €7 million to UNRWA, including €1 million in additional emergency support in response to the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip in May. Ireland also provided €500,000 to UNICEF for the provision of essential supplies and services to thousands of children in acute need in the West Bank and in Gaza and €300,000 to the oPt Humanitarian Fund.

Ireland also supports the Palestinian Ministry of Education in providing equitable access to quality education for children. 

Irish officials will continue to engage actively on the ground and by supporting Israeli and Palestinian civil society partners who play a critical role on this issue.


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