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Home Politics 14/July/2021 05:53 PM

Irish lawmakers call on Israel to end evictions, demolitions in the occupied Palestinian territories

Irish lawmakers call on Israel to end evictions, demolitions in 
the occupied Palestinian territories
Irish Dail Chambers.

DUBLIN, Wednesday, July 14, 2021 (WAFA) - The Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense of the Irish parliament yesterday published its report - Displacement and Demolitions in the occupied Palestinian territory - in which it called on Israel to end evictions of Palestinians, transfer of settlers, and demolitions, among others.

The 104-page report follows a series of meetings held by the Committee into reports of displacements and demolitions in the occupied Palestinian territory, said the Committee.

As part of the review, the Committee invited written submissions on the issue and held a series of engagements in May with stakeholders including the Ambassador of Israel to Ireland, Ophir Kariv, and Ambassador Head of Mission of Palestine to Ireland, Jilan Abdalmajid.

Committee chair of the upper house of the Irish legislature, Charlie Flanagan, said: “Ireland has a proud history and long-standing role in addressing the needs of others beyond our own borders.

“Following a reported increase in demolitions, including buildings that had been constructed and refurbished with funding provided by the Irish taxpayer the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense agreed to undertake a review of the situation in respect of the demolition of public and private buildings and the displacement of people in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The report calls for an end to further evictions, transfer of settlers, demolitions, land appropriations, and pillage of natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory.  And to enable meaningful negotiation, the Committee recommends Israeli authorities take concrete steps to dismantle illegal settlements and disengage from the occupied Palestinian territory.

It further calls on the Israeli authorities to cease the targeting of humanitarian aid in the West Bank through demolition and confiscation. The Committee expresses particular concern, in the report, at the reported 108% increase in demolitions of donor-funded structures including schools and medical centers, many of which are funded by the EU and EU Member States.

Other conclusions made by the Committee in the report include:

That the increase in demolitions and displacements in 2020 and 2021 has caused hardship for the people in the occupied Palestinian territory and has greatly contributed to increased tensions in the region.

Continuing Israeli actions, in the occupied Palestinian territory, are making the goal of peace and a contiguous Palestinian state harder to achieve.

As the Occupying Power in the West Bank, Israel has obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention which dictates that the forcible transfer of members of the occupied population is prohibited. The Fourth Geneva Convention also prohibits the transfer by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

The pattern of evictions, demolition orders and displacements are not random but appear to be strategically focused on altering the demography of East Jerusalem by targeting areas such as Sheikh Jarrah.

As repeated statements of condemnation are not achieving any change there is a need for individual countries, the European Union and the United Nation to ensure that there are meaningful consequences.

Further recommendations made by the Committee in the report include:

That Ireland, following on from its recent recognition that de facto annexation has taken place in the occupied Palestinian territory, now takes steps towards realizing its responsibility to not render aid or assistance to Israel which would facilitate the maintenance of an internationally wrongful act of annexation.

That Ireland supports an International Court of Justice Opinion on the illegality of the prolonged occupation and de facto annexation of the occupied Palestinian territory.

That Ireland supports the call by Palestinian victims for an International Criminal Court investigation into evictions in Sheikh Jarrah amongst others.

That Ireland uses its seat and forthcoming Presidency of the UN Security Council to address the root causes of the prolonged occupation of Palestine territory, the poverty, inequality and injustices, and to progress means to bring de facto annexation to an end in the interests of maintaining international peace and security.

That Ireland demands directly, and through international bodies, reparation from the Israeli Government, for the destruction of projects where Irish and EU funding was utilized.

Deputy Flanagan thanked all witnesses who participated in meetings and contributed significantly to constructive and informative discussions and individuals and organizations who contributed written submissions.

M.K.

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