The Irish government has denounced Israel's illegal settlement expansion and land expropriation policies in the occupied West Bank in violation of international law and the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who has represented his country on the UN Security Council in debates on Israel in recent weeks, threw his weight behind a parliamentary motion Tuesday, condemning the “de facto annexation” of Palestinian lands by Israeli authorities.
He also condemned Israel’s “manifestly unequal” treatment of the Palestinian people.
“The scale, pace and strategic nature of Israel’s actions on settlement expansion and the intent behind it have brought us to a point where we need to be honest about what is actually happening on the ground. ... It is de facto annexation,” Coveney told parliament.
“This is not something that I, or in my view this house, says lightly. We are the first EU state to do so. But it reflects the huge concern we have about the intent of the actions and of course, their impact,” he added.
Israel’s annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank has been fiercely criticized by not only Palestinians but by the international community at large.
The Israeli regime intends to annex all illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian lands, including the strategic Jordan Valley.
The plan amounts to one-third of the territory and is in line with former US president Donald Trump’s so-called “Middle East plan,” which envisaged a demilitarized Palestinian state on a patchwork of disjointed parts of the Palestinian territories.
The West Bank, including East Jerusalem al-Quds, is viewed as occupied territory under international law, thus making all Israeli settlements there as well as the planned annexation illegal.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.