Sinn Fein spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD has expressed concern over the decision by the EU to sign a tripartite gas deal with Israel and Egypt.
The multi-billion Euro deal is for gas from disputed gas fields, in which Israel is in dispute with Lebanon. This despite Israel’s long record of human rights abuses, and breaches of international law.
The Wicklow TD said:
“I am concerned that as the EU seeks to find alternative sources to Russian energy supplies that they are prepared to do a deal with Israel – a state that has been consistently found to be in breach of international law.
“The UN High Commissioner for Human Right Michelle Bachelet has recently called for Israel to launch a criminal inquiry into the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh. The US Palestinian Journalist gunned down by Israeli forces last month.
“A further three Palestinians were gunned down by Israel on Thursday. Palestinians are murdered by the Israeli state on a regular if not daily basis. Israel has been found guilty on a repeated basis of human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
“Although the EU is presenting the proposed deal as an alternative to Russian energy supplies, the proposed pipeline will take a minimum of seven years to build, with US sources claiming that it is too expensive to be economically viable, and will take too long to come into production to be a viable alternative to Russian gas.
“What is not being addressed is the denial of the Palestinian people to the mineral rights which have been discovered on Palestinian territories, but which continue to be appropriated by the Israeli state.
“The 1995 Oslo II Accord granted the Palestinian Authority maritime jurisdiction over waters up to twenty miles from the coast. The Palestinian Authority signed a contract for gas exploration with the British Gas Company in 1999, the same year that a large gas field was discovered off the coast of Gaza.
“Despite discussions between Palestinians, the British company and the Israeli’s, Palestinians have not derived any benefits from the gas find. Since the Israeli blockade of Gaza began in 2007, the Israeli government has bypassed the Palestinian Authority, seizing control of natural resources for itself.
“Israel has also seized control of a further oil and gas find at the Meged Field, just inside the West Bank. Israel argues that the field lies outside of Palestinian territories, even though the majority of the mineral reservoir lies beneath the occupied Palestinian territory.
“While Israel reaps the benefits of mineral wealth that belongs to the Palestinian people, the right of the Palestinian people to govern themselves is denied.
“The ability of the Palestinian state to develop is also denied. The much needed proceeds from the oil and gas discoveries would provide the means to lift the Palestinian people out of poverty and to establish a viable state.
“Ireland has a responsibility to draw attention to this hypocrisy at an international level. The EU has a responsibility to avoid rewarding states in breach of international law.
“It must act consistently with the principles which define the EU. The EU cannot be seen to reward states which are consistently in breach of international law, through their blatant contravention of human rights.”