I propose to answer Questions Nos. 307 and 325 together. As I stated in my response to Parliamentary Question 246 of 24 May 2022, I strongly condemn the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh.
Media freedom and the safety of journalists must be protected, including in situations of conflict, and I have called for an immediate impartial, independent and effective investigation. I have spoken out clearly on this issue, including at the Dáil debate on journalists in conflict on 24 May.
I also condemn unreservedly the policing of the funeral in Jerusalem. The use of force against mourners by the Jerusalem police was wholly unacceptable and attracted widespread and fully justified condemnation.
Ireland has been proactive in ensuring that these issues are highlighted internationally, including at the UN Security Council. On 24 May, Ireland organised an Arria formula meeting at the Security Council on the protection of journalists. At the most recent Security Council meeting on 26 May on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, Ireland again called for a swift and independent investigation into Ms Abu Akleh’s killing. Ireland reiterated this call in a joint media statement following the meeting along with France, Albania, and Estonia.
Ireland has condemned recent civilian deaths in the occupied Palestinian territory, and called on Israel to address disproportionate security responses, including those seen in Jerusalem, Jenin and elsewhere. Ireland has also stressed the importance of protecting the status quo of the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, and our full respect for Jordan’s custodial role.
With regard to the EU, on 11 May the EU condemned Ms Abu Akleh’s killing, calling for a thorough and independent investigation. The EU expressed solidarity with journalists and emphasised the importance of supporting their fundamental work, in particular while covering conflicts.
In relation to the issue of sanctions against Israel, Ireland does not have any unilateral sanctions regimes, but implements EU sanctions, adopted as part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and UN sanctions. There are currently no EU or UN sanctions in place against Israel and there is not a consensus either at the level of the EU, or the UN Security Council, on the introduction of sanctions against Israel.
As Minister for Foreign Affairs the overall human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory remains a key priority for me. Ireland will continue to seize every opportunity to stress the need for respect for human rights and full accountability. I am committed to working with partners to promote coherent and effective EU and UN action towards a lasting and peaceful two-state solution.