Ireland's Support to Palestine
Ireland’s development and humanitarian programme in Palestine seeks to preserve the space for a two-State solution as well as to improve the quality of life of the most vulnerable Palestinians.
Minister Simon Coveney meeting with Palestine refugee students at the UNRWA School in Jabalia Refugee Camp, Gaza. Photo: Khalil Adwan/ UNRWA
What is Ireland doing in Palestine?
Ireland has a programme of development and humanitarian assistance in Palestine which is jointly managed by the Representative Office of Ireland in Ramallah and Department of Foreign Affairs headquarters.
Ireland’s vision is for the realisation of a negotiated two-state solution with an independent, democratic, viable and contiguous Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours, and the improvement of the quality of life of the most vulnerable Palestinians.
Ireland has a longstanding commitment to justice for the Palestinian people and to the development of a viable, sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Our programme of assistance aims to support the capacity-building of Palestinian institutions. These institutions require continuous development and reform, in order to deal with the needs of twenty-first century governance.
Support to Education
Education is a key focus of our work, which is also crucial to Palestine’s long-term economic viability. Working jointly with a number of other donors, Ireland supports the Palestinian Ministry of Education to strengthen the quality and accessibility of the education system, improving capacity and providing equitable access to quality education for Palestinian children.
In 2018, Ireland launched the Ireland-Palestine Scholarship Programme. The programme offers enhanced academic and professional opportunities for Palestinian students, and will deepen the strong bonds that already exist between the Irish and Palestinian people. You can find out more about the Ireland-Palestine Scholarship Programme and how to apply here.
Recipients of the Ireland-Palestine Scholarship Programme on arrival in Ireland in September 2019. Photo: ICOS
The humanitarian situation in Palestine remains difficult. In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, demolition of houses and restrictions on freedom of movement and on access to essential services have all impacted negatively on vulnerable Palestinian communities.
Underlining our commitment to reducing the vulnerability of Palestinian communities living in Area C of the West Bank, Ireland joined the West Bank Protection Consortium in 2017. 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.
Acute humanitarian needs in Gaza are compounded by the absence of a reliable electricity supply and adequate clean water. 97% of Gaza’s natural water supply is unfit for human consumption by WHO standards, and significant infrastructural investment is needed in order to rehabilitate the aquifer and reverse this crisis. In 2019, Ireland announced that it will provide €8.8 million to fund the construction of a 7.5MW solar plant that will provide clean, reliable energy to the North Gaza Emergency Sewage Treatment (NGEST) plant. Once completed, this project will provide for the full energy needs of NGEST and any excess power will be distributed to other water and wastewater facilities throughout northern and central Gaza. The French Development Agency, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), is partnering with Ireland to implement this ambitious project, which will improve the everyday lives of Gazans; building capacity, reducing humanitarian need and furthering climate action.
Ireland also provides support to the Occupied Palestinian Territory Humanitarian Fund, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to NGOs providing clean and affordable energy to vulnerable communities in the West Bank.
Promotion of Human Rights and Accountability
The promotion and protection of human rights is a basic objective of Irish foreign policy. A Better World: Ireland’s Policy for International Development, attaches particular priority to the protection of civil society space. In the particular context of the oPt, respect for human rights and the rule of law, accountability and transparency can also serve to facilitate peace and stability, contribute to better and more open governance, and help to strengthen the democratic tradition in the West Bank and Gaza.
The human rights situation in the oPt is characterised by systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Ireland provides support to Palestinian and Israeli civil society organisations working for justice and human rights.
Through the Human Rights and Democratisation (HRD) Scheme, Ireland has provided core budgetary assistance to empower civil society organisations to monitor and document human rights abuses, work with victims towards redress, support the establishment of fair, independent and responsive accountability mechanisms, and to engage in policy and reform dialogue with duty bearers.
Ireland also offers project-based funding through the Human Rights and Democratisation (HRD) Scheme to support organisations working in key priority areas. You can find out more about this scheme here.
Support for Palestine Refugees
Ireland is a longstanding and committed supporter of the vital work undertaken by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Our support helps UNRWA to deliver core services, especially in education and health, to a population of some 5.7 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza.
Head of Mission's Fund
Irish Aid supports local non-governmental organisations with small-scale development projects in Palestine through the Head of Mission’s (HoMs) Fund administered through the Representative Office of Ireland in Ramallah. These grants range from €2,000 to €5,000 for a project of up to six month’s duration.