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.
The provocations and clashes in East Jerusalem, which led to many injured at the holy site of Haram al–Sharif/Temple Mount, are deeply worrying. The approach of the Israeli Authorities and Security Forces is not acceptable. I conveyed these concerns to the Israeli Ambassador last week. Ireland continues to provides support to a number of civil society partners that are active on human rights issues, which impact specifically on Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
In my address to the UN Security Council on 16 May I underlined that Israeli actions in East Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa compound were not acceptable and provocative. I highlighted the need for the right to peaceful protest to be upheld. I also raised concerns about incidents of inter-ethnic violence, intimidation, arson and even loss of life in the mixed cities of Israel.
I have underlined the importance of media freedom and the essential role played by journalists and the press in reporting on conflicts like this one. I condemn in the strongest terms the strike which destroyed media outlets. Freedom of expression and information and the work of journalists must be protected without exception. Human rights, including fundamental rights of freedom of expression and association, need to be respected including in times of conflict.
I will continue to press this issue, including at the extraordinary meeting of EU Foreign Ministers on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel on 18 May.