Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Questions (514)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

514. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has read a recent report (details supplied); his views on the report; his further views on whether it is now time to begin speaking in relation to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people in terms of apartheid rather than merely occupation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21840/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I am aware of the report to which the Deputy refers. 

Ireland’s position on this issue will continue to be based on international law, Israel’s obligations as the occupying Power under the Fourth Geneva Convention, and on the relevant Resolutions of the UN Security Council.

Our approach is rooted in the illegality of Israel’s occupation and the right of Palestinians to self-determination. The restrictions that are imposed on Palestinians undermine the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, a right which is at the heart of the Two-State solution.

Israel’s actions in respect of settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are in contravention of its obligations under international law. Settlements and occupation are detrimental to the wider respect for Palestinians’ human rights, such as the right to water and education, and the enjoyment of civil and political rights, including freedom of expression and assembly. Settlements are also a key source of tension, violence and conflict across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, where the situation is of particular concern.

Violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law are both a cause and consequence of the conflict and an impediment to a sustainable political solution. I have argued consistently at EU and UN level that there needs to be a greater focus on the actions in the occupied Palestinian territory which are unjust and which undermine the possibility of reaching a peace agreement, including settlement expansion, demolitions, evictions and expropriations, the treatment of Palestinian children by the Israeli security forces, restrictions on the provision of humanitarian assistance to populations in need, and restriction of access to water supplies.

We raise our concerns regarding discriminatory practices resulting from the occupation on a regular basis with the Israeli authorities, as well as at EU and UN level, including at the Security Council. 

We will continue to raise our concerns about human rights issues in the occupied Palestinian territory. The role of civil society is vital and we will continue to support space for civil society in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, and to provide financial support to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs working on human rights issues.