I propose to take Questions Nos. 316, 313, 326, 333 and 357 together.
I am deeply concerned by the decision of the Israeli High Court to uphold the eviction order for Palestinians in Masafer Yatta in the West Bank and the confirmation of the designation of the land as a firing zone for the Israeli military.
On 13 May Ireland along with fourteen other European countries, issued a statement urging the Israeli authorities not to proceed with these evictions.
Ireland has been proactive in ensuring that this issue is highlighted at the UN Security Council, including at the most recent Council meeting on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, on 26 May. Ireland expressed concern regarding the decision, which could result in the forcible transfer of some 1,200 Palestinians and the demolition of their homes and again called on Israel to cease evictions and demolitions, including of donor-funded structures, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law.
Ireland reiterated this in a joint statement to the media following the Security Council meeting along with France, Albania and Estonia.
I have been consistently vocal in my opposition to illegal Israeli settlements and their expansion in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Settlement expansion, demolitions and evictions clearly violate international law, undermine prospects for a two-State solution and are a major obstacle to a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.
Ireland provides humanitarian assistance, legal and other supports to specific development projects to improve the situation of Palestinians. Ireland is a member of the West Bank Protection Consortium which plays a leading role in supporting threatened communities and coordinating the provision of essential services to them, including material assistance and legal aid. Ireland’s membership of the Consortium underlines our commitment to reducing the vulnerability of Palestinian communities living in Area C of the West Bank.