Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (408)

Patricia Ryan

Question:

408. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the actions he will take in view of the destruction of the Palestinian village of Khirbet Humsa; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37784/20]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The demolition by Israeli authorities of private property is of grave concern. Demolition and confiscation of humanitarian assets, including education infrastructure, is contrary to Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law, and in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention.

I was deeply dismayed to learn of the demolition by Israeli authorities on 3 November of more than 70 structures, belonging to 11 Palestinian families in the community of Humsa Al Bqai’a (also referred to as Khirbet Humsa) located in the northern Jordan Valley. These demolitions include residential, livelihood and sanitation facilities.

I issued a statement on these demolitions on 6 November in which I underlined that destruction of private property such as this is clearly prohibited under international humanitarian law. Israel, as the occupying power, has clear obligations towards members of this community, including the 41 children impacted by the demolitions.

On 6 November, Ireland’s Representative Office in Ramallah visited the site of the demolitions, along with other diplomatic representatives. Ireland, the EU, and the wider humanitarian community are ready to support those impacted and the West Bank Protection Consortium, of which Ireland is a member, is providing emergency shelter and support to affected families.

While my primary concern is the hardship and injustice that demolitions and confiscations cause for Palestinian families, it is important that the question of recompense for humanitarian relief funded by our taxpayers should be pursued. Ireland pursues this issue consistently through the West Bank Protection Consortium. It is the practice of the Consortium to raise this directly with the Israeli authorities and to date, the Consortium has sought compensation of over €625,000 in respect of confiscated or demolished assets.