Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Ceisteanna (834, 881, 882, 898)

John Brady

Ceist:

834. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the appropriate response at national level to the continued expansion and maintenance of independent illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20937/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Patrick Costello

Ceist:

881. Deputy Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has raised the matter of illegal settlements in occupied Palestine officially with his EU partners in view of the present situation of continual efforts by Israel to create illegal settlements in Occupied Palestine which the Israeli Prime Minister has clearly indicated his intention that they will be permanent. [20436/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Patrick Costello

Ceist:

882. Deputy Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the immediate steps he plans to take at the UN Security Council to oppose the illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20437/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

898. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has studied the recent report by the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs which documents the striking increase in violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank; his views on whether this is part of a pattern primarily designed to take over land and to intimidate and terrorise Palestinians; his further views on whether it is creating an atmosphere of impunity and as the military are usually present it amounts to a discriminatory two-tier approach to military protection and policing in the West Bank other than condemning these activities; the actions he plans to take in defence of international law at EU and international level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20816/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 834, 881, 882 and 898 together.

Ireland's position on settlement expansion is absolutely clear. Settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory is clearly illegal under international law.

I am in regular contact with EU partners on the situation in the Middle East. EU Foreign Ministers met last year with the Israeli and Palestinian Foreign Ministers. The EU's position on the illegality of settlements has been consistently clear.

At the UN Security Council, Ireland has urged Israel to halt all continued settlement expansion, including in East Jerusalem and other sensitive areas. At the Security Council Quarterly debate on the Middle East in January, I underlined the need to speak for the Council to speak out clearly against violence and called for attacks against civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory to stop.

On 18 March I met the Israeli Ambassador and conveyed in the strongest terms my concerns on recent settlement announcements and associated infrastructure development. Ireland’s Ambassador in Tel Aviv has raised the issue directly the Israeli authorities, most recently on 19 April. Ireland's Representative Office in Ramallah has made a number of visits along with EU representatives to sensitive sites of concern.

Ireland is in close contact with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on the ground, including in respect of its ongoing valuable reports on the protection of civilians. Last week, Ireland's Representative Office in Ramallah took part in a visit with OCHA which focused on the impact of settlements on Palestinian communities, including the impact of settler violence.

Ireland continues to call on the Israeli Government to halt all settlement construction. Our longstanding support for a Two State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains an integral aspect of our foreign policy, which I will continue to prioritise.