Thursday, 26 November 2020

Questions (34)

Catherine Connolly


34. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will use Ireland’s upcoming membership of the UN Security Council to highlight the increase in recent months in demolitions of Palestinian structures in the West Bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38479/20]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is regularly discussed by the UN Security Council, and the international parameters for a Two-State solution, which we support, have been set out in Resolutions adopted by the Council.

It is of course very challenging to reach agreement between members of the Security Council on the Middle East Peace Process, as on many other issues, but the Council continues to play a crucial role. I intend that Ireland would keep open lines of communication with both Israel and the Palestinians while we are on the Council, and to hear their views, as well as acting on our long-standing principles.

The demolition of Palestinian homes, and demolition or seizure of related structures are cruel and unjust actions. These practices also cause suffering to ordinary Palestinians, and impinge on the right of children to an education.

On 26 October, Ireland made a national statement in the Security Council open debate on the situation in the Middle East, and called on Israel to halt demolitions.

Following the Security Council briefing on the situation in the Middle East on 18 November, the current and incoming EU members of the Council (Ireland, Belgium, Estonia, France and Germany), along with Norway as a fellow incoming member, delivered a joint media statement on the Middle East Peace Process in which we called on Israel to halt all settlement expansion and demolitions.

Beyond the UN Security Council, Ireland conveys our views on these actions to the Israeli authorities, both directly and through the EU. In my statement of 16 October I called on Israel to halt demolitions and allow for legal construction for Palestinian residents. I have also raised the issue on my visits to the region. Ireland’s Ambassador in Tel Aviv has raised the issue of demolitions with the Israeli authorities, along with a group of EU and non-EU colleagues. Officials from Ireland's Representative in Ramallah visit have also visited demolition sites in recent weeks.