Written answers

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Departmental Communications

Photo of Catherine ConnollyCatherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent)
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99. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the engagement has he had with his European Union counterparts with regard to the forcible eviction of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and dispossession of their properties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56540/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I remain concerned by the situation in East Jerusalem where tensions remain high.

Palestinian residents in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah have faced a longstanding threat of eviction. I have clearly and repeatedly conveyed our concerns on this issue directly to the Israeli authorities, at EU level and at the UN Security Council.

Ireland’s Representative Office in Ramallah regularly visits Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan along with EU and other diplomatic representatives and continue to monitor the situation closely, including attending legal proceedings on eviction cases.

I have engaged on these matters repeatedly with my EU counterparts, including at the Foreign Affairs Council. At the FAC meeting of 12 July, during which we held an exchange of views with Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, I called on the Israeli authorities to halt illegal settlement activity, including forced evictions, as well as settlement expansion and demolitions and seizures of Palestinian property.

During my recent visit to Israel and the oPt, I raised my grave concerns with Israeli interlocutors at the impact of settler activity and the recent announcements on settlements on Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank and urged for an end to these actions.

Ireland continues to be active on these issues at the UN Security Council. I addressed the Security Council on 16 May, stressing the need to move past the current recurring cycles of violence and stating that a return to business as usual, including forced evictions, is no longer an option.

Ireland supported a request for the most recent announcement on settlements to be discussed at the Security Council. This discussion took place on 8 November. The UN Deputy Special Coordinator in Jerusalem, Lynn Hastings, briefed the Council. Ireland’s Permanent Representative underlined our concerns at the impact of this development on the viability of a future Palestinian State. Ireland along with EU members of the Council as well as Norway and incoming member, Albania, made a joint press statement after the Council meeting highlighting the illegality of such settlements.

Ireland provides humanitarian assistance, legal and other supports to specific development projects to improve the situation of Palestinians. We fund a number of civil society partners that are active on human rights issues, which impact specifically on Palestinians in East Jerusalem, including in relation to evictions. During my visit to the region, I announced a further €100,000 of Irish funding to support the work of the West Bank Protection Consortium.


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