Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD has described as very worrying reports emanating out of Israel that the Higher Planning Council of the Civil Administration that operates the West Bank is expected to approve plans in the next few days that will allow for the construction of 4,430 new housing units in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Speaking today in the Dáil, Teachta Brady said:
“If approval for these housing units is granted, as is expected, on the back of approval for 5,400 housing units last month, this will mean that 2020 represents the biggest expansion of Israeli settlements in almost a decade.
“It appears that Netanyahu intends to assuage the demands of his political supporters, particularly amongst the settler community, who are outraged at the suspension of plans to annex parts of the West Bank following Israel’s normalisation deal with the UAE in August.
“Sinn Féin condemns the continued expansion into Palestinian territory by Israeli settlers and echoes the sentiments of the Palestinian Authority, who have described Netanyahu’s actions as reflecting the systematic ‘violations of international law and United Nations resolutions.”
“It is very apparent that Israeli government policy is being driven by attempts to appease the settler community. For the sake of a domestic political agenda Netanyahu is prepared to continue the erosion of Palestinian rights, any hopes of a peace agreement and to breach international law.
“I raised this issue at a meeting today with the German and Portuguese Ambassadors in Ireland, who were present to brief the Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs..
“The annexation of the West Bank is effectively being conducted under the guise of expanding settlements. It is happening almost on a daily basis.
“It is time for the European Union to recognise the state of Palestine.
“Recognition of Palestine as an independent State is long overdue. The Dáil has voted for Ireland to do just that, but the government continues to block this measure.
“This is both a direct contravention of the wishes of the Dáil and an insult to the Irish people in whose name the Dáil acts.
“It is this failure of countries like Ireland, along with the larger international community that allows Israel to trample on the rights of Palestinians unhindered.
“The international community must stand with Palestine.”