Minister Coveney addresses UN Security Council at Debate on the Situation in the Middle East
Press release26 January 2021
The Minister for Foreign Affairs today spoke at a UN Security Council quarterly open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question.
Addressing Council on the Middle East Peace Process, the Minister recalled the words of Kofi Annan, who stated that the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not just one regional conflict amongst many” and that “no other conflict carries such a powerful, symbolic and emotional charge, even for people far away”.
The Minister went on to outline Ireland’s principled position on the conflict; reaffirming support for a resolution based on international law and agreed international parameters.
’We are firmly committed to a negotiated two-state solution that ends the occupation that began in 1967; with Jerusalem as the capital of both States, on the basis of international law, including relevant UN Security Council resolutions’
While the Minister welcomed recent developments in the region, including normalisation of relations among states in the region and the Palestinian commitment to holding Legislative, Presidential, and National Council elections this year, he expressed concern at increased Israeli settlement activity, stating:
‘Israel's decisions last week to advance plans for the approval and construction of over 3,000 new settlement units in the West Bank, and to progress the construction of new settlements in Givat Hamatos are contrary to international law…I urge Israel to reverse these decisions and to halt all settlement expansion, including in East Jerusalem…continued settlement activity is not only illegal, but erodes trust between Palestinians and Israelis’.
The Minister outlined Ireland’s opposition to the demolition or confiscation of Palestinian owned structures in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, stressing that:
‘Making already vulnerable Palestinians homeless in the midst of a global pandemic is simply unacceptable. We call on Israel to halt demolitions, which in 2020 was the highest since 2016, according to OCHA, and to allow for legal construction for Palestinian communities’
The Minister went on to express Ireland’s support for UNWRA, urging the new US administration and states in the region to renew funding to the organisation. He also expressed solidarity with the Israeli and Palestinian communities in their fight against COVID-19, and called for ‘the timely, effective, and unimpeded vaccination of all in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory’.
The Minister concluded by referring to the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen and Syria, calling for a redoubling of efforts towards conflict resolution to alleviate suffering, and by asking that the Security Council and the Middle East Quartet re-energise its engagement with the Middle East Peace Process.
26 January 2020