Irish Government should demand Israel halts settlement activity in occupied territories – Palestinian ambassador


THE Irish Government should table a motion at the UN Security Council demanding Israel halt settlement activity in the occupied territories, the Palestinian ambassador to Ireland has said.

r Jilan Abdalmajid, ambassador from the Mission of the State of Palestine, told the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday that Ireland should use its current membership of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to put pressure on Israel in the same way as New Zealand did in 2016 when it pushed a resolution condemning Israel settlement-building.

Dr Abdalmajid said that Ireland was a small country like New Zealand and “has a great role to present something to support the Palestinian rights in Palestine such as the issue of annexation”.

She said New Zealand had managed to gain the support of the international community for the resolution which passed the UNSC in December 2016 after the outgoing Obama administration refused to veto it.

“New Zealand managed to submit this with the international community,” Dr Abdalmajid told TDs and Senators. “I think you can do something.”

The ambassador told the committee that “Palestinian families face relentless attacks designed to amass as much Palestinian land as possible with as few Palestinian citizens as possible” and described it as a “two tier system built on discrimination and oppression”.

She also said that the international community has a responsibility to keep pressure on Israel to allow fair elections in the Palestinian territories.

It comes as Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has summoned the Israeli ambassador to Ireland to a meeting to discuss the ongoing violence in Jerusalem and Gaza.

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Palestinians evacuate following an Israeli air strike on a building, amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza City May 11, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Ambassador Ophir Kariv has been invited to a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the violence and civilian deaths with Mr Coveney, the minister’s spokesman confirmed.

There was no immediate response from the Israeli embassy in Dublin.

Mr Coveney tweeted on Tuesday that the “cycle of violence must end” and that Ireland would continue to raise concerns at the UN Security Council, where it is currently a member.

Days of unrest in Jerusalem has spiralled into retaliatory attacks by Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Israeli air strikes on Gaza have hit 130 targets and left some two-dozen people dead, while more than 300 rockets have been fired towards Israel this week, injuring 31 Israelis.

The escalation in violence follows clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at a holy hilltop site in East Jerusalem that is revered by both Muslims and Jews, as well as the threatened eviction of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers in the predominantly Arab district of Sheikh Jarrah.

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Israeli security personnel assist a woman after a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip hit a shopping complex in Ashkelon, southern Israel May 11, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Speaking at the Oireachtas Committee, Eamonn Meehan from Sadaka – the Ireland Palestine Alliance called on the Government to immediately sponsor a motion in both houses of the Oireachtas declaring that de facto annexation has happened throughout the West Bank.

Dr Susan Power, the head of legal research and advocacy for the Al-Haq organisation, called for diplomatic relations with Israel to be frozen and for restrictions on economic relations between Israel and Ireland.

Committee chair, Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan, who is a former foreign affairs minister, called on those in the region to de-escalate the crisis and engage in dialogue.



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