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"Settlements are illegal" - Ireland joins chorus of condemnation of Israeli land grab

The US and Amnesty International also want Israel to reverse the decision.

IRELAND HAS LENT its voice to the chorus of international condemnation of Israel’s claim to nearly 1,000 further acres of Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said this afternoon that the announcement is not only contrary to international law but threatens future plans for a two-state solution in the region:

Ireland has repeatedly made clear that settlements are illegal under international law and their presence and continued expansion in the occupied Palestinian territory is incompatible with the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for peace and the realisation of the two-State solution.

Flanagan goes on to say that the Irish Government is calling “on the Israeli Government to reconsider this decision as a matter of urgency”.

Mideast Israel Missing Teens An Israeli soldier stands near the West Bank city of Hebron. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Ireland’s official response has been mirrored by Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin, who both also point to the expansion as being a threat to the two-state solution.

The two main opposition parties go further however saying that that the move also threatens recent agreement to end fighting in Gaza.

“The latest actions by the Israeli Government threaten the peace which was recently agreed between Israel and Hamas and will only further escalate already heightened tensions in the region,” Fianna Fáil’s Brendan Smith TD said in condemnation of Israel’s announcement.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams made a similar assertion:

Coming in the wake of the recent, widely welcomed ceasefire in Gaza, this is a profoundly negative and retrograde development. “This offensive action will merely contribute further to the tension which has recently resulted in so much bloodshed in Gaza. It raises serious questions about the Israeli Government’s commitment to peace and a negotiated two-state solution.

Bot Smith and Adams also agree that the Irish Government should push the EU to come out with a collective response asking Israel to reverse the decision.

gvaot_map_eng-copy-630x367 Source: Peace Now

Expansion

Israeli authorities in the Gush Etzion area, south of Bethlehem, said the decision to establish new settlements there was a response to the killing of three Jewish teenagers there in June.

Rights watchdog Amnesty International has also denounced the Israeli plans, saying that it “appears to be the largest land grab in the occupied Palestinian territories since 1980″.

“Israel’s strategy of illegally confiscating land for settlements in the West Bank must stop once and for all,” said Amnesty’s Philip Luther.

The US has also called on Israel to reverse the decision.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policy of constant settlement expansion on land the Palestinians claim for a future state is deemed illegal by the European Union and an “obstacle to peace” by the US and staunchly opposed by both.

Additional reporting by © – AFP 2014

Read: Israel announces massive land seizure for new West Bank settlements >

Read: What exactly is in the Israeli – Hamas peace agreement? >

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Rónán Duffy

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