Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Questions (421)

Violet-Anne Wynne

Question:

421. Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on the worsening conflict against civilians in Palestine and Gaza; if it is within the remit of Ireland on the UN Security Council to do more than merely speak out against the unilateral actions and violence perpetrated by the Israeli state and military forces; if he will express clearly the parameters of Ireland’s responsibility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25875/21]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I am gravely concerned by the continued violence, in which so many innocent Palestinians and Israelis have lost their lives in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and across Israel. I call for an end to violence and for all parties to abide by international law.

On 16 May, I addressed an emergency open session of the UN Security Council on this issue. I called for a cessation of hostilities and emphasised the obligations that all sides have under international humanitarian law. I called on the Council to send a clear and united message that this cycle of violence and bloodshed must end now. I called for the protection of civilians and underlined the imperative of ensuring the safety of humanitarian personnel and the delivery of humanitarian assistance. 

Ireland supported the call for an emergency session of the Security Council on 16 May, following two emergency discussions on 10 and 12 May. Ireland joined France, Estonia and Norway in issuing a joint statement after the Council meeting on 12 May. I am disappointed that it has not been possible to agree a Security Council Statement following the open emergency session. 

I will join EU Foreign Ministers who are meeting virtually in extraordinary session on the issue on 18 May. I will underline the need for strong EU engagement - both in relation to the current hostilities and to address the root causes of the conflict.

Ireland’s position on this issue is, and will continue to be, based on international law, including Israel’s obligations as the occupying Power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. I remain deeply concerned about the lack of accountability for violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory. In this respect, I fully respect the role of the International Criminal Court and the integrity of the Court and its prosecutor in carrying out their important work.