Minister Coveney signs agreement to support vulnerable Palestinian communities
Press release13 July 2017
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Simon Coveney T.D., today signed an agreement in Ramallah establishing a new partnership between Ireland and the West Bank Protection Consortium, with funding of €200,000 to be provided in 2017.
Established on the initiative of the European Commission, the West Bank Protection Consortium is made up of a network of NGOs and international donors, and works with communities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Ramallah earlier today, on the final day of his visit to the Middle East, Minister Coveney said:
“This is an important new partnership for Ireland and underlines our commitment to reducing the vulnerability of Palestinian communities living in Area C of the West Bank. Since its establishment in 2015, the Consortium has played a leading role in supporting threatened communities and co-ordinating the provision of essential services, including material assistance and legal aid.”
The humanitarian situation in the West Bank remains difficult. Demolition of houses and restrictions on freedom of movement and on access to essential services have all impacted negatively on vulnerable Palestinian communities.
Ireland and our EU partners have consistently condemned the building of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and the evictions, demolitions and land seizures from Palestinians which are an integral part of that project. Ireland’s foreign policy accords a high priority to efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and we consider that a comprehensive peace based on two sovereign states, and the ending of the occupation, is essential to the future of both Palestinians and Israelis.
The Minister went on to say that:
“Membership of the Consortium by EU Member States, including Ireland, represents a significant and visible commitment by the EU and its Member States to support the right of Palestinians to remain in Area C and East Jerusalem, essential components of a future Palestinian State.”