I propose to take Questions Nos. 246 to 248, inclusive, together.
Ireland’s position on the Middle East Peace Process and the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory is informed by international law, respect for human rights and the goal of a Two-State solution through a negotiated peace agreement.
Ireland has been consistently vocal in its opposition to settlement expansion and annexation. The Government's support for the recent Dáil motion reflected our grave concern about the scale and character of settlements and their negative impact.
We will continue to proactively raise theses issues at EU level, in national and EU statements at the UN Human Rights Council, the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council, and in our bilateral contacts.
On 12 July I joined EU Foreign Affairs Ministers in a first meeting with the new Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs, Yair Lapid. During our discussion I emphasised the need to respect international law and underlined that settlement expansion and the ongoing threats of evictions, demolitions and violence against Palestinians, all of which undermine prospects for peace, must be stopped. I called on Israel to engage constructively in a process for peace and to do all it can to address the humanitarian situation and support reconstruction in Gaza.
Ireland remains firmly committed to a negotiated two-State solution based on international law, relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and agreed parameters.
I have been clear in my engagement with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority of the commitment of this Government to advancing a Two-State solution for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rebuilding confidence and a political track for negotiations is essential. The EU has an important role in this effort, including through revitalising the Quartet, which is being supported by the new EU Special Representative on the Middle East, Sven Koopmans.
The Programme for Government states that the Government will “Honour our commitment to recognise the State of Palestine as part of a lasting settlement of the conflict, or in advance of that, when we believe doing so will progress efforts to reach a Two-State solution or protect the integrity of Palestinian territory”. As I have stated previously, I would be prepared to recommend to the Government early recognition by Ireland of a State of Palestine, if and when it might be helpful, and this is a matter which I discuss with EU colleagues.