Statement at UNSC briefing on the Middle East, Incl. the Palestinian Question
Statement23 February 2022
Thank you Mr. President, and I want to thank the Special Coordinator for his comprehensive briefing this morning.
Ireland is seriously concerned at the escalation in tensions in recent weeks across the West Bank including East Jerusalem. Incidents of provocation, violence, including settler violence, and escalatory acts in the occupied Palestinian territory serve only to inflame an already tense situation.
We are deeply disturbed by continued reports of the use of excessive force by Israeli Security Forces. OCHA has reported that between 25 January and 7 February alone, 215 Palestinians, including 28 children, were injured by Israeli forces in the West Bank.
The killing of a Palestinian teenager by live ammunition on 13 February was shocking, but sadly, is not an isolated case. Ireland also wishes to raise the killing of a 13 year old boy just yesterday south of Bethlehem. As you said Special Coordinator, ‘Children must never be targeted’.
It is the responsibility of the Israeli authorities, as the Occupying Power, to ensure that all incidents of disproportionate use of force are thoroughly investigated, and to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
Ireland reiterates the longstanding EU position that Israel must end settlement expansion, confiscations, demolitions and evictions. Such practices, all of which further entrench Israel’s illegal occupation, are underlying causes of tension and violence.
The continued escalation of settler violence, including in sensitive areas in East Jerusalem, is acutely worrying, as was the recent burning of the home of a Jewish family in Sheikh Jarrah. Ireland continues to be concerned at the disparity in conviction rates between Israeli settlers and Palestinians who have committed acts of violence. Ireland calls on the Israeli authorities to bring to justice those responsible for carrying out violent attacks and ensure they are held fully accountable.
We are seriously concerned about threatened evictions and demolitions in Sheikh Jarrah, which will inevitably fuel tensions. The Lower Aqueduct plan and other settlement plans threaten the contiguity of a future Palestinian State and should not proceed.
We recall the importance of upholding the historic and legal status quo of the Holy sites in Jerusalem and acknowledge Jordan’s important role in this regard.
Ireland remains extremely troubled by how the policies of the Israeli authorities impact the human rights of Palestinians. Ireland is particularly concerned by the unequal treatment of Palestinians, the application of different standards in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel’s failure to ensure the protection and welfare of Palestinians living under its occupation.
Practices around the detention and trial of Palestinian children, and the misuse of the Israeli military court system in particular are unacceptable. We call on Israel to comply with its obligations under international law, in particular International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law.
I reiterate Ireland’s concern at Israel’s decision to designate certain Palestinian civil society organisations as terrorist entities. Ireland will continue to support Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders, and their critical role in promoting international law, peace, human rights, and democratic values.
Meeting the essential needs of Palestine refugees remains a significant challenge. Ireland continues to encourage support for UNRWA, which provides assistance, protection and stability in a challenging regional environment.
Finally Mr. President,
It is important for intra-Palestinian divisions to be addressed and we support all efforts to this end. We maintain our position that national Palestinian elections are essential to renew the legitimacy of national institutions. Such a process of democratic renewal is a critical element of state building and will help support political efforts to resolve the conflict and make progress towards the realisation of a two-State solution.
Thank you Mr. President.