Written answers

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Foreign Policy

Photo of Ivana BacikIvana Bacik (Dublin Bay South, Labour)
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218. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade further to Parliamentary Question No. 73 of 30 September 2021, his views on the need for concrete measures to dissuade the Israeli government from breaking international law given the concerns he outlined in the response; and his plans to introduce such measures. [49492/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Ireland’s position on these issues is based on international law, including Israel’s obligations as the occupying Power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. We work actively at bilateral and EU level and through the UN on the issue of compliance with international law in the occupied Palestinian territory.

At EU level, I met with Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, along with my EU colleagues at the Foreign Affairs Council on 12 July. I underlined Ireland’s concern about the impact of Israeli government policies and practices on the human rights of Palestinian in the occupied Palestinian territory and called for their human rights to be ensured in law, in policy and in practice.

I spoke to the Foreign Minister Lapid again on 30 August. I underlined the need for compliance with international law. I hope to visit the region in the coming weeks and will raise these issues further with my interlocutors.

On 29 September Ireland chaired the Council’s monthly meeting on the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question. This meeting focused on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which includes the issue of illegal settlements, violence against civilians and de-escalation and reversal of negative trends on the ground. At that meeting, Ireland highlighted the need for full compliance with Resolution 2334, which calls on all States to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967. In this respect Ireland ensures that any bilateral agreements with Israel do not apply to territories occupied by Israel since 1967.

In May, Ireland supported a special session of the Human Rights Council on the escalation of violence. The Human Rights Council voted to establish a Commission of Inquiry on the oPt at this session. In keeping with our principled position on Commissions of Inquiry established by the HRC, Ireland supports the work of this Commission.

At the Security Council on 29 September, Ireland unreservedly condemned the incidence of settler violence on 28 September in the South Hebron Hills in which a young child was seriously injured, calling on the Israeli authorities to hold those responsible accountable and to end the culture of impunity around all such incidents of violence.

I have often spoken on the issue of illegal demolitions of educational facilities by Israeli authorities. In November 2020, in relation to the threat of demolition of the Ras Al-Teen school, I called on Israel to cease this reprehensible practice and ensure children’s basic human right to education in a safe and secure school environment. Ireland also provides practical support to enable access to quality education for Palestinian children. This includes support to UNRWA, which provides free basic education for over 530,000 Palestine refugee children, and to the Palestinian Ministry of Education.

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