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Israel criticises Ireland after Dáil declares de facto annexation of Palestinian land

Ireland is the first EU country to make such a declaration.

Gardai watch huge crowds of people protesting in Dublin in solidarity with the Palestinian people. 22 May 2021.
Gardai watch huge crowds of people protesting in Dublin in solidarity with the Palestinian people. 22 May 2021.
Image: Leah Farrell

ISRAEL HAS CRITICISED Ireland’s TDs for voting to declare Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories as de-facto annexation.

A Dáil motion, tabled by Sinn Féin, was passed last night after it received cross-party support – making Ireland the first EU country to make such a declaration.

The motion condemns the “recent and ongoing forced displacement of Palestinian communities in the occupied Palestinian territory”, and described the annexation of Palestinian territory as a violation of international law.

The amendment was defeated by a vote of 46 in favour and 87 against.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has rejected the Dáil vote as “blatantly one-sided” and said it would affect Ireland’s ability to take part in any peace talks.

Spokesperson Lior Haiat said on Twitter: “Israel outright rejects Ireland’s outrageous and baseless position regarding Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria [more commonly known as the West Bank].

“This position reflects a blatantly one-sided and simplistic policy and follows the unacceptable anti-Israel statements that were heard in Ireland at a time when the citizens of Israel were being subject to terror attacks by the more than 4,000 rockets that were launched from the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terrorist organisation.

The motion that was adopted today in the Irish parliament constitutes a victory for extremist Palestinian factions. This motion distances Ireland from its ambition to contribute and play a constructive role in the Israeli-Palestinian context.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the motion passed was a “clear signal of the depth of feeling across Ireland”.

Hamas has fired more than 4,000 rockets towards Israel, and Israel has fired hundreds of air strikes against targets in Gaza, with more than 250 people killed in total.

The rockets have claimed 12 lives in Israel, including two children and an Israeli soldier. Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed 243 Palestinians, including 66 children, as well as fighters, and have wounded another 1,900.

A ceasefire last Friday ended 11 days of fighting in the Gaza Strip, considered the worst violence in the region since 2014.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown TD Richard Boyd Barrett, one of the proposers of the amendment, said: “It is now high time that the Dáil and the Irish government move from words of sympathy and support for the people of Palestine to effective action.”

“The chronic repression, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and apartheid system that has brutalised the Palestinian people has to be treated like the South African apartheid regime was treated.

“There must be zero tolerance for Israel’s ongoing and systematic violation of basic human rights for Palestinians, just as there was for Apartheid South Africa.

“There is a historic opportunity for us here in Ireland, who have previously experienced oppression from an occupying power, to lead the international community in taking effective action against the Israeli regime who are inflicting untold misery and brutality on the people of Palestine.”

A 2014 video of Boyd Barrett talking about Israel-Palestine went viral this month.

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With reporting from the Press Association.

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