Ireland first in EU to condemn annexation of Palestinian land by Israel

Foreign minister criticises Israel’s ‘manifestly unequal’ treatment of Palestinians

The Irish government condemned the “de facto annexation” of Palestinian territory by Israel and the scale of its settlement expansions.

Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Ireland is the first EU government to use the phrase in relation to Israel.

Ireland’s government on Tuesday backed a parliamentary mention condemning the annexation of Palestinian land, with Mr Coveney criticising Israel’s “manifestly unequal” treatment of 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," Mr Coveney said in 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 said.

The comments follow the worst fighting in years between Israel and armed groups in Gaza, including Hamas, although a ceasefire has since been agreed.

The motion condemning Israel was put forward by the opposition Sinn Fein party. Mr Coveney insisted on adding an amendment to the motion criticising Hamas’s rocket attacks on Israel – a move that Sein Fein refused to support.

"The acts of terror by Hamas and other militant groups in firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel … cannot and should not ever be justified," Mr Coveney said.

Updated: May 26, 2021 04:48 PM

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