Israeli foreign ministry ‘rejects’ Dáil motion over ‘de facto’ annexation

The Dáil motion tabled by Sinn Féin received cross-party support when it was passed on Wednesday night.
Israeli foreign ministry ‘rejects’ Dáil motion over ‘de facto’ annexation

By Cate McCurry and James Ward, PA

Israel’s foreign ministry said it “outright rejects” a motion by the Dáil to declare the building of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories as a de facto annexation.

A spokesman for the ministry said that Ireland’s “outrageous and baseless” motion “constitutes a victory for extremist Palestinian factions”.

Ireland became the first EU member state to declare the building of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories as de facto annexation.

A Dáil motion, tabled by Sinn Féin, was passed on Wednesday night after it received cross-party support.

In a statement, Lior Haiat, the spokesman for Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “Israel outright rejects Ireland’s outrageous and baseless position regarding Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

“This position reflects a blatantly one-sided and simplistic policy and follows the unacceptable anti-Israel statements that were heard in Ireland at a time when the citizens of Israel were being subject to terror attacks by the more than 4,000 rockets that were launched from the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terrorist organisation.

“The motion that was adopted today in the Irish parliament constitutes a victory for extremist Palestinian factions.

“This motion distances Ireland from its ambition to contribute and play a constructive role in the Israeli-Palestinian context.”

The motion condemns the “recent and ongoing forced displacement of Palestinian communities in the occupied Palestinian territory”, and described the annexation of Palestinian territory as a violation of international law.

In a tweet after the vote, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said: “Illegal land grabs, annexation of Palestinian land & homes has been called out by Dáil in Dublin.

“The motion tabled by @sinnfeinireland & supported by all must mark new assertive, consistent confrontation of Israeli crimes against Palestine.”

Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs spokesman John Brady described the vote as a “historic moment”.

He tweeted: “Tonight’s passing of the @sinnfeinireland motion on the illegal annexation of Palestinian lands by Israel, is a historic moment, a victory for justice & a recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

“Focus now needs to be on the consequences for Israel.”

An amendment tabled by People Before Profit, calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Ireland and to impose sanctions against Israel, was defeated.

The People Before Profit amendment to Sinn Féin’s motion was defeated by a vote of 46 in favour and 87 against.

The amendment claimed Israel was guilty of war crimes, ethnic cleansing and apartheid, and that as a result the Israeli ambassador and embassy staff should be expelled.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the motion was a “clear signal of the depth of feeling across Ireland”.

Mr Coveney said on Tuesday the Government needed to be “honest about what is happening on the ground”, adding that it is a “de facto annexation”.

He added it was not said lightly.

Israel has fired hundreds of air strikes against targets in Gaza, while Hamas has returned more than 4,000 rockets towards Israel, with more than 250 people killed in total.

A ceasefire on Friday ended 11 days of fighting in the Gaza Strip, considered the worst violence in the region since 2014.

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