Statement by the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore TD condemning Israeli settlement decision

I strongly condemn the decision of the Israeli Government to ‘legalise’ three illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank, thus breaking its own repeated pledges over many years.  This is a decision which is contrary to Israel’s clear obligations under the Road Map to remove all such illegal outposts.  It also does nothing to enhance the reputation for rule of law which has in the past been a great credit to Israel.

The Israeli Government’s decision to legalise outposts which are illegal under Israel’s own domestic law, combined with the relentless construction of settlements on the territory of the future Palestinian state, must give rise to serious doubt about the genuineness of Israel’s commitment to a comprehensive peace with its neighbours.  I note that most of these outposts are in locations which cannot possibly be included in any territory swap that might be involved in an agreement.  The continued survival of these settlements is effectively incompatible with a final peace in the region.

The peace process and the two-state solution, which alone provide the route to long-term peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians, are gravely endangered by Israel’s continuing expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.  Ending the occupation, not deepening it, is what the Israeli Government should be doing at the present time.

Press Office

26 April 2012

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