JOE COSTELLO TD has detailed his findings from a trip to Gaza and Lebanon today.
The Minister of State for Trade and Development addressed the joint committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade today on his recent visit to Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territory.
He told them that the visit “demonstrated Ireland’s continued leadership and commitment to respond to one of the most serious and complex humanitarian situations in the world today”.
Costello said that Ireland “will continue to actively support the search for a lasting and peaceful political solution in the occupied Palestinian territories as well as in the wider region”.
But he said that in the meantime, Ireland “will continue to offer the humanitarian support which is essential in addressing the ongoing basic needs of the Palestinian people.”
While in Beirut, he met with representatives of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency, (UNRWA), and announced €500,000 in funding for their activities.
He also met the UNHCR, and Mr Wael Abou Faour, Minister of Social Affairs for Lebanon to discuss the refugee crisis.
He then went on to visit the occupied Palestinian territory, where he met a cross-section of community organisations from both Israeli and Palestinian sides, as well as representatives of the UN and NGO fraternity.
He also held a series of high-level meetings with senior Palestinian government representatives, including Prime Minister Hamdallah and Chief Negotiator Dr Erekat.
The Minister said that in the occupied Palestinian territory, “the political and humanitarian situation continues to be precarious”.
He said that issues include limited access to essential services, food insecurity and serious protection and human rights concerns.
“Long-term, sustainable development in the occupied Palestinian territory is, of course, dependent on a successful outcome to the ongoing political negotiations,” he noted.