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Irish FM will raise settlement expansion concerns during his visit to Israel

November 2, 2021 at 4:27 pm

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney in Berlin, Germany on 11 December 2020 [Fabrizio Bensch/Getty Images]

Irish Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, will be travelling to Israel after raising concerns over illegal settlement construction, as well as the blacklisting of six Palestinian human rights and civil society groups as terrorist organisations.

It will be the foreign minister’s fifth trip in the last four years and his first since Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, took office in May, reported The Jerusalem Post.

“During this visit, I will meet with a range of Israeli and Palestinian political leaders, representatives of UN agencies and civil society,” said Simon Coveney.

“I will speak clearly and frankly about negative trends, including violence, demolitions, evictions and settlement activity that are causing ongoing suffering and threaten to erode the prospect of a negotiated two-state solution.”

All settlements are illegal under international law. Rights groups and the international community have repeatedly condemned Israel’s settlement expansion, saying it hinders the progress of peace with Palestinians.

READ: Israel support for PA in return of settlement expansion in West Bank

“In the past week, we have seen further negative developments in terms of settlement activity and civil society space which I have spoken out against,” added Simon Coveney.

“I will use this opportunity to, again, convey my concerns and call for the end of such acts.”

While in Jerusalem, Simon will also meet with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland.

Moreover, the Minister will also visit communities in the occupied West Bank to hear directly about the challenges that they face and how Irish aid funding is being used.

After that, Simon will be travelling to Jordan, where he will officially open Ireland’s new embassy alongside the Jordanian Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi.

This is “an important milestone in the deepening of ties between our two countries. Jordan is an important partner in the region and I look forward to discussing a broad spectrum of issues, including bilateral relations and trade, the Syrian conflict, the Middle East Peace Process and the challenges facing the wider region,” Coveney said.