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Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Written Answers Nos. 304-323

Question No. 304 answered with Question No. 276.

Question No. 305 answered with Question No. 276.

Question No. 306 answered with Question No. 276.

Middle East

Question No. 308 answered with Question No. 276.

Question No. 309 answered with Question No. 276.

Question No. 310 answered with Question No. 276.

Question No. 311 answered with Question No. 273.

Question No. 312 answered with Question No. 287.

Questions (307, 325)

Gary Gannon

Question:

307. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the behaviour of the Israeli riot police who stormed a group of mourners as they attempted to carry the coffin of a Palestinian-American journalist (details supplied) from a hospital in east Jerusalem to a church in the Old City and the fact that police fired stun grenades and used batons to beat peaceful mourners and those carrying the coffin which at one point almost fell to the ground; the action other than condemnation that he will propose at European Union level to sanction Israel for this extreme conduct; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27502/22]

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Gary Gannon

Question:

325. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to reports on the activities of the Israeli military in the past weeks against the Palestinian people (details supplied); and the additional action that he proposes to take at national and European Union-level to advance a solution and alleviate the suffering of these Palestinian communities. [27634/22]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

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.

Question No. 308 answered with Question No. 276.
Question No. 309 answered with Question No. 276.
Question No. 310 answered with Question No. 276.
Question No. 311 answered with Question No. 273.
Question No. 312 answered with Question No. 287.

Human Rights

Question No. 314 answered with Question No. 300.

Question No. 315 answered with Question No. 276.

Question No. 316 answered with Question No. 313.

Question No. 317 answered with Question No. 276.

Question No. 318 answered with Question No. 276.

Question No. 319 answered with Question No. 303.

Question No. 320 answered with Question No. 311.

Question No. 321 answered with Question No. 276.

Questions (313, 316, 326, 333, 357)

Bríd Smith

Question:

313. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will take immediate steps to put pressure on the Israeli government to halt the expulsion and forced transfer of over 1,000 Palestinians, which represents the largest expulsion and forced transfer of Palestinians to take place since the beginning of the Israeli military occupation of Palestine in 1967; if he will acknowledge that the United Nations and international, Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations have called this a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a possible war crime; if he will act with the urgency that is required to prevent this action; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27534/22]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

316. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the steps that are being taken by Ireland to stop the imminent expulsion and forced transfer of over 1,000 Palestinians by the Israeli government from Masafer Yatta; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27542/22]

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Neasa Hourigan

Question:

326. Deputy Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to recent reports of the demolition of and eviction from Palestinian homes in Masafer Yatta on the West Bank; if he has reiterated to the Government of Israel that settlement expansion, demolitions and evictions are illegal under its obligations under international humanitarian and international human rights law; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27698/22]

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Paul Murphy

Question:

333. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the Israeli High Court ruling on 4 May 2022 in favour of demolishing 12 communities in Masafer Yatta and displacing thousands of residents under the claim of being present in a firing zone area; if he will make representations to the Israeli government to halt the expulsion and forced transfer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27739/22]

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Joe O'Brien

Question:

357. Deputy Joe O'Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will call on the Israeli government to halt its plans for a mass expulsion and forced transfer of Palestinians from Masafer Yatta; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28088/22]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

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.

Question No. 314 answered with Question No. 300.
Question No. 315 answered with Question No. 276.
Question No. 316 answered with Question No. 313.
Question No. 317 answered with Question No. 276.
Question No. 318 answered with Question No. 276.
Question No. 319 answered with Question No. 303.
Question No. 320 answered with Question No. 311.
Question No. 321 answered with Question No. 276.

Drug Dealing

Question No. 323 answered with Question No. 276.

Questions (322)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

322. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the Government has issued passports to members of an organisation (details supplied) who are banned from entering the United States of America; and if he plans to withhold passports from citizens convicted of international drug dealing and serial criminality. [27589/22]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Passport Service cannot comment on whether or not named individuals are currently Irish passport holders. 

Under the provisions of Section 12(1)(C) of the Passports Act 2008, the Minister can, in certain circumstances, refuse to issue a passport.

Any decision by the Minister to withhold passports from citizens convicted of international drug dealing and serial criminality would primarily be based on security advice forwarded to the Minister, by one or both of the Government Departments charged with responsibility for the security of the State.

Should such advices be received by the Minister, in respect of citizens convicted of international drug dealing and serial criminality, they will be given due consideration within the parameters of the Passports Act 2008 and in particular Section 12(1)(C).

Question No. 323 answered with Question No. 276.
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