Thursday, 12 February 2004

Questions (39, 40)

Dan Boyle

Question:

25 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the report of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (details supplied) outlining the killing of Palestinian civilians, the razing of Palestinian agricultural lands and the indiscriminate shelling of Palestinian residential areas; his views on whether these actions are consistent with the obligations of the Israeli Government in relation to human rights under Article 2 of the association agreement between Israel and the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4323/04]

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Joe Costello

Question:

35 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the report of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights of January 2004 which indicated that in one short period 20 Palestinians were killed, 28 houses were destroyed, and 120 square meters of land confiscated; and the authorities, including the Israeli authorities with which he has raised these questions. [4185/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 25 and 35 together.

I assure the Deputies that the reports of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights are followed closely by my Department. The work of this organisation is supported by my Department through our programme for human rights and democratisation and only last December a further €100,000 in core funding was approved for the centre. I am aware of the incidents referred to in the reports of the centre, to which the Deputies refer. The recent actions of Israeli forces in Palestinian areas have been the subject of a demarche to the Israeli Foreign Ministry by our ambassador to Israel and are being closely monitored.

The association agreement between Israel and the European Union does establish human rights standards to be observed by both parties and it is questionable whether the actions of Israeli forces in the Occupied Territories are consistent with those provisions of the agreement. The actions of Israeli forces were raised by the European Union during the last association council with Israel which took place in November 2003.